The Central Bank of Nigeria has granted Flutterwave a Switching and Processing License. The license is widely regarded as the CBN's most valuable payment processing license.
"We are thrilled to have been issued this license after fulfilling all of the regulatory requirements. The application process was rigorous and included a detailed review of our operations as a business. As a switch, we have more responsibilities and will continue to work with Regulators to ensure we meet and exceed their expectations," Flutterwave’s Chief Regulatory and Government Affairs Officer, Oluwabankole Falade said in a statement seen by Benjamindada.com.
With the license, Flutterwave will offer transaction switching and card processing services to customers. Others include non-bank acquiring, agency banking and payment gateway services.
The Switching and Processing license also allows Flutterwave to enable transactions between banks, fintechs and other financial institutions. The fintech unicorn will also be able to process card transactions, participate in agency banking and offer various payment services without any intermediary.
Prior to this license, Flutterwave operated with its Payment Solution Service Provider (PSSP) and International Money Transfer Operator (IMTO) licenses.
Related Article: The requirements to get a fintech-related licence in Nigeria
According to Onyedikachim Nwankwo, Head of Product Marketing, "the license will allow us to offer more services and explore more payment use cases for our ecosystem. With this license, we can offer more value to our customers while taking more control of our value chain to enable an improved payments experience for our enterprise, medium scale and retail customers."
In the previous months, Flutterwave has battled a number of regulatory and compliance challenges in East Africa. Aside from the freezing of the fintech's bank accounts by the Kenyan Assets Recovery Agency for money laundering allegations that Flutterwave has since denied, the Central Bank of Kenya also said that the company is unlicensed to operate in the country.
Also Read: Inside Flutterwave's plan for Tanzanian SMEs
In West Africa, a leaked document revealed that the Bank of Ghana is reviewing the activities of Flutterwave in the country as part of its continuous surveillance of the financial system. The fintech currently has several openings for roles in its regulatory, compliance and risks departments.
More about the CBN switching license.
The Switching and Processing license [PDF] is issued to companies to process transactions between vendors, merchants, their customers and other financial institutions. Fintech companies engaging in processing transactions are increasing. Notable among them are Interswitch, Unified Payments, ETranzact.
To be eligible for the license, registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission with Articles and Memorandum of Association is mandatory. There is a capital requirement [PDF] of two billion Naira shareholders’ funds unimpaired by losses, preceding 3-years audited financial statements of the company (If applicable), and an escrow of refundable two billion Naira deposited into CBN PSP Share Capital Deposit Account Number – 1000014009. The escrow must be paid as a lump sum.
A non-refundable fee of one hundred thousand Naira is paid to the CBN as application fees. If the application is successful, another 1 million Naira (N1, 000,000) is to be paid before the issuance of a final license. However, the validity of the licence is determined by the CBN upon satisfactory performance of operations.
Aside from Flutterwave, Appzone was granted the same license in May 2022 and TeamApt also secured a switching license in 2019 to enable AptPay, one of the company’s products, to provide financial solutions to different customer segments.