April 3, 2020 All Things Fintech in Africa

How Nigerian Fin Techs are reacting to the Coronavirus Threat

On 19th of March, the NCDC (National Centre for Disease Control) announced a total of twelve Coronavirus (COVID) cases in Nigeria. Further, creating panic among companies and Nigerians, who initially have been advised to take handwashing, sanitizing and self-isolation more serious. As Coronavirus (COVID) nears escalation, some digital financial companies are being proactive and activating remote work for their employees. Companies like Paystack, Kuda Bank, Carbon and Buycoins have put plans forward on how they tend to handle the Coronavirus pandemic.

For Paystack, the Nigerian fintech company, its employees will begin a ‘work from home’ plan from today and its office will be closed to guests. The mandate is to ensure that the safety of the employees and to limit the risk of the virus to team members or customers.   On a statement released by Emmanuel Quartey, the head of growth for Paystack, he emphasized on how the members have already started working remotely, with internal tooling and processes optimized for disturbed work without disrupting the ‘Paystack Business.’

Customers will still have access:

  • To their accounts and transactions will be processed as usual.
  • Their customer success team will remain available for 24/7, including email at [email protected], their social media channels and live chat. The help desk will also be accessible.

While BuyCoins, a cryptocurrency exchange startup had already announced a ‘work from home’ mandate for its employees on Tuesday.  This announcement was made by Timi Ajiboye, the founder of BuyCoins, on twitter, days before the Coronavirus cases increased and was confirmed by the health authorities.  In his tweet he emphasized on the need to be proactive in responsibility:

“While the number of confirmed COVID cases are still small, out of an abudance of caution, we think it is critical to be proactive in responsibility and begin to practice isolation and social distancing. I personally believe there are more people infected that has been confirmed (like it is everywhere in the world, even with way more testing than we’ve done here). I think every company that can have people work at home should do so.”

In his pans to activate remote work for his BuyCoins staff, Timi Ajiboye has promised to give a stipend outside the normal salary pay to his employees to stock up on food, toiletries e.t.c and to reimburse internet subscription costs. And also have free lunches delivered to their homes by EdenLife.

With regards to remote work, Carbon, a digital lending company is however faced with some challenges on targeting 100% remote work. While Carbon is looking to minimize the likehood of infection for its staff, it will not be able to take call enquiries as their call centers and phone lines will be unavailable for the next few weeks. Customers can only reach via social media and email.

 

In the face of a pandemic with fatal consequences, Kuda Bank has also joined the train of ‘work from home’ for some of its staff. To this new effect, Kuda Bank’ customer support will continue to provide support through the in-app chat and Twitter DMs with quick responses between 6:00am and 6:00pm, and slower responses at other times.

Customers will still have access:

  • To their money and transactions will still happen round the clock.
  • Debit cards through third party companies will be considerably slow.
  • Transfers will be an option for users without a debit card. Or users can access the Cardless Withdrawal feature. (This is to discourage currency notes moving around a lot).

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