Paystack is now a licensed Payment Service Provider in Kenya

The Central Bank of Kenya has authorised Paystack to operate as a Payment Service Provider in Kenya.

Paystack is now a licensed Payment Service Provider in Kenya
The Paystack team in Kenya. Credits: Paystack 

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has granted Paystack a Payment Service Provider licence to operate in Kenya. The Nigeria-founded fintech company has also launched its private beta in the country.

"In every country in which we operate, Paystack strives to build fast, secure, and reliable payment services for businesses and customers. In Kenya - our fourth country where we operate locally, after South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria - we’re thankful to receive the authorisation required to operate in full compliance with regulations," Caroline Muema, Paystack's Business Operations and Expansion Lead in Kenya said in a statement seen by Benjamindada.com.

With this licence, Paystack will enable Kenyan businesses to accept both one-time as well as automated recurring card payments, collect payments from customers through several local and global payment channels, including M-Pesa, Card payments (Visa, Mastercard, American Express), and Apple Pay.

Businesses can also use the Paystack Developer Documentation to build custom payment experiences, and integrate with the fintech's extensive inventory of plugins to collect payments through world-class tools such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and Wix.

Aside from the aforementioned, merchants can also use Paystack's no-code Commerce tools (Payment Pages, Storefronts) to bring ideas to market beautifully and also monitor their business with the Paystack Merchant App.

"We will work with an initial group of businesses to refine our platform in Kenya, implement feedback, and ensure that we build a fast, reliable, truly delightful payment experience," Vikaran Ubhi, Paystack's Product Manager in Kenya, added.


Related Article: All you need to know about Paystack's acquisition by Stripe

CBK war against unlicensed fintechs

In July 2022, CBK's Governor, Patrick Njoroge, stated that African unicorns and fintech—Flutterwave and Chipper Cash are not licensed to operate in the country as payment service or remittance providers.

Although these companies expanded into the country through partnerships with licensed entities. CBK instructed financial institutions in Kenya to "cease and desist from dealing with Flutterwave and Chipper Cash".

Experts argue that it is difficult to get licensed as a financial service provider in Kenya. "The truth about fintechs and how long it takes them to operate before they get licenced in Kenya. I tried to invest in iPay in 2010 so I am very familiar with this. So, let's kill the narrative of Nigerian fintechs "breaking the laws", those licenses are never easy to get," Victor Asemota, an African investor tweeted.

For the CBK to issue a PSP license, companies are required to go through four steps which involve a preliminary engagement that has to do with studying the National Payment System (NPS) Act and Regulations and interacting with the CBK, this typically takes three weeks.

After that, PSPs are required to propose and book at least three business names with the Registrar of Companies. "The name, if approved, will be valid for 12 months from the date approval is granted by the CBK within which the applicant should have received authorisation to carry out PSP services," a CBK document reads.

The third step is the application for an authorisation certificate. After the confirmation of approval for the proposed company and product name, will pay a non-refundable application fee of Kshs. 5,000 (~$42). For foreign companies, a signed declaration by the board of directors to adhere to the NPS Act and Regulations is required among other documents.

When the PSP has successfully completed stages two and three, the Central Bank of Kenya if satisfied with the application will issue a letter of intent requiring the PSP to pay an authorisation fee of Kshs. 100,000.00. (~$841), this then is followed by the issuance of an Authorisation Certificate permitting the applicant to commence the business of payment services in the country.