The growth of the fintech space in Nigeria has enabled individuals to make easy finance decisions, especially on the question of where they bank their monies. The resentment for the monotonous process of banks, their countless inexplicable deductions and impersonal solutions were given life when customers have options that are easier and sometimes profitable.
A number of these platforms offer high-interest savings options as the major front-facing business models. Popular in the set include Piggyvest, Cowrywise and Kolopay. Last week, I was introduced to a new player in the space with a great promise, CashBox.
CashBox is a digital savings platform owned by CashBox Global Services Limited. Sydney Aigbogun founded the startup a year ago to help Africans discover healthy saving habits as well as curb excessive spending.
Making Savings Fun
Speaking on how cashBox is making savings fun for its users, Sydney told me that the app has been designed, in terms of functionality and language, to make it very easy for the users to perform certain functions. In fact, the team recently infused a pidgin option not only to help ordinary people better understand, but also to make it more relatable to educated users.
“Also, we have a very low savings bar for our users. They can save as low as N100 daily. So, no matter how high or low your earning capacity is, you can still imbibe the savings culture with CashBox. You are never too broke to save!”, he said as he explained his team’s effort to eliminate some of the challenges of savings for many Nigerians.
Similarly, the CashBox team also auto-assigned a Providus Bank account number to each user on its app. This way, they could also transfer the sum they intend to save to the designated account from any account whenever they intend to save. “This way, they were able to cover for users that do not have an ATM card or users that experience a direct debit decline’, he added.
According to operations manager, Feyikemi Adebayo, the platform offers 5 different savings options to its users:
- Instant: Allows you save money from to your account on the move using your card or through transfer. The amount may be as low as N100 and as much as you can. This feature allows you to save cash on the go.
- Vault: This feature allows you to lock your cash for a 90 days period with the prospect of higher returns. In fact, users get the interest well ahead (at the beginning of the period). This helps users get more interest on monies they do not have an immediate need for.
- Regular: This feature allows you four withdrawal days across the year. If you choose to withdraw on days other than the free days, you will have to pay a percentage charge. This help to serve as an aside piggybank for users.
- Target: This feature allows you to save towards a goal. i.e say you want to pay your rent or buy a car. This encourages long time planning.
- Clique: This feature allows you to have a savings challenge with your friends or clique. This feature is designed to encourage peer motivation.
Impact: So far, very good…
CashBox is two years old. Yet, the startup has enjoyed significant traction- in spite of the fact that the founders have not raised any fund since inception. According to Sydney, they helped users save about $350,000 (three hundred and fifty thousand dollars) in the first year and have processed over N1bn (One billion naira) between January and August 2020.
Feyikemi revealed that they have enjoyed about 40% month-on-month growth this year, with a monthly volume of N200m (two hundred million Naira) from about N50m (fifty million Naira) in January.
“The interesting thing about our growth is that most of the users have come through referrals from other users. We have a very lean marketing budget but the impact has been massive”, she added.
CashBox presently has about 100k (one hundred thousand) users, a significant growth from 17k in January 2020.
Sydney told us that the secret of the exponential growth is that the CashBox team is customer-centric to the core.
“At the inception, we had a number of negative reviews because we were fine-tuning the process at that time. Today, that has been replaced by positive reviews and testimonies because our focus has been helping our customers achieve their life goals,” he said.
An exemplification of the customer-centric nature of the team is the inclusion of the pidgin language as a feature on its app. This also influenced the decision not to allow users to withdraw their savings until the set date, a feature many of the users have come to applaud.
Just like every other savings platform, CashBox invests the pool of cash in a number of financial instruments- treasury bills, alternative assets- and other portfolios.
According to Sydney, the future plan is to grow into an asset management company with a possible investment portfolio in Agriculture, real estate etc. CashBox also plans to introduce FX savings and other better investment options for users.
On expansion, he indicated that Cashbox presently has users in cities across Nigeria, with a majority pool in Lagos. The future plan is to target rollout in more cities and African countries. This will also open up the opportunity of facilitating seamless cross-country transfers.
Sydney also revealed the reason the team had not actively sought investment in the past. According to him, this is because they needed to prove the concept and get a rounded understanding of the market. Now that they have gotten both, the CashBox team is open to local and international investment offers.
“I am not an advocate of raising for the sake of raising funds when you do not have a need of it. We believe we should wait until we are already to use whatever we get to the fullest. And, I think that we are now ready for that”, he explained.
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