According to the Central Bank of Nigeria, an average Nigerian has about three bank accounts they manage. These accounts are usually used for different reasons such as one for savings, one for salary, and one for investments amongst others.
However, managing and accessing funds across all of these accounts can be difficult due to issues like the lack of debit cards, mobile banking, and other spending difficulties. This requires Nigerians to have multiple banks or fintech apps on their devices, as well as multiple cards for each account. In addition to this, the difficulty of spending dollars from Nigeria has increased with the recent CBN dollar limit directives and the $20 limit now placed on most Naira cards.
Founded in October 2021 by Owumi Festus and Tunde Adewole, Bridgecard has emerged from Nigeria to solve the challenge of managing multiple bank accounts, apps, and easy access to money.
Bridgecard merges all your cards, bank accounts, and fintech wallets into one card and an app, allowing users to perform online transactions, pay bills, and withdraw from any linked account within one app. They also give a physical card that can withdraw from any Nigerian or supported International bank account and a dollar card that supports a monthly spend of $10,000.
In a recent announcement, Bridgecard announced that they have raised $440,000 in pre-seed funding with the participation of venture capitals like ABV funds, Ingressive Capital, Voltron Capital, Venture Platform, Velocity Digital, and Berrywood Capital. Other angel investors in this round include: Johnson Yaya, Kennedy and Duke from Kippa, and Miracle Anyanwu.
According to the Co-founder, Owumi Festus, the company knew they were on the right path after early user research conducted showed in more detail, the challenges faced by Nigerians when it comes to managing multiple accounts.
“They either don’t have an ATM card for one bank because they can’t afford to join the long queues at the bank, or it’s a fintech app for savings and investment and so they don’t have a card issued to withdraw directly from it. Some others are not able to set up mobile banking for their accounts which makes spending difficult. Another problem they all complained about was the new $20 monthly transaction limit that their banks imposed on their cards,” Festus said.
This new solution does more than merge multiple bank accounts and fintech wallets into one card and app, Bridgecard has a couple of other unique features. These include access to a virtual dollar card with over a $10,000 limit monthly, a physical dollar card that manages both Naira and Dollar transactions, a feature to transfer money from multiple accounts, payment of bills, and a spending management feature called auto-mount.
This app helps users to manage their finances better, access their money more easily, spend internationally, and ensure better security for their money.
After being in a private beta where Bridgecard launched to 120 users and processed over $70,000 transaction volume within two months, they have recently launched publicly and are available for download.
When asked about the security of the platform and how users' money is safely kept, Bridgecard mentioned a couple of features in place for that, and equally claimed to provide more security than traditional debit cards.
This is because, unlike debit cards that can give full access to all the money in an account in a case of theft, Bridgecard ensures that no amount beyond what is mounted on the card can be deducted from a user's bank account. Some of the other measures in place include a PCIDSS license that ensures each user's information is secure and private, as well as a unique picture security password that provides users with a fake balance when in distress, or under attack.
Bridgecard's CEO and Co-founder, Tunde Adewole, said “We built Bridgecard because it’s quite difficult to have just one bank and even more difficult to manage funds across multiple bank accounts. We wanted to solve this problem by building an operating system for money, one app where you could spend, send, and see the money in all your bank accounts and wallets.”
“We also wanted to provide our users with one card that can support all your online and offline transactions. Bridgecard moved from a mobile app my co-founder and I used to make our lives better to what we got over 5000 people interested in. We really can’t wait to solve this problem for every African,” Adewole added.
With the $440,000 pre-seed funding raised, the company plans to increase the number of bank accounts that can be linked on the platform. Bridgecard will also expand to support crypto wallets in supported countries, get the product in the hands of more people, and solve online and card payment issues better.
The company is still early in this space and although there are a couple of similar products, Bridgecard has very unique offerings.
As said by the CEO, the big picture for Bridgecard is to be the OS for finances in Nigeria and Africa at large. With their team and investors, they are ready to build a lasting product and improve financial access and management for Nigerians. The recent app launch and pre-seed investment are only the first steps in achieving that.