The thoughts of having your bank accounts operating beyond your country’s borders would be an interesting process.
Have you considered a possible way for businesses and freelancers to manage their funds from the international scene seamlessly as they do in their respective locality?
Would this process actually change the way commerce and banking are carried out as it is known?
Only a revolutionary product beyond what the traditional banking system offer would be best positioned to solve the aforementioned challenges.
Chimenem Nnwoka, Founder and CEO of Breeze, a fintech platform is looking into solving this need through its payments network that is offering Nigerian businesses and individuals with foreign exchange liquidity to trade and transact globally.
Chimenem alongside Abubakar-sadiq Popoola the COO and Co-founder of Breeze, who were both classmates studying economics at Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos started the project during their final year.
According to Chimenem, just before the pandemic, the duo were working on an escrow product for social commerce, however, the duo decided to pivot the product into Breeze.
Chimenem stated that both of their parents are into the exporting business and they were finding it challenging to send money over to their suppliers, hence the creation of Breeze from the initial social commerce product intended.
Giving an overview of the state of borderless payment in Africa, Chimenem stated that payments on the continent are broken.
“It’s very difficult to send money across borders and intra-African money movement isn’t easier.”
The Co-founder laid emphasis on the challenges in operating forex in Nigeria, stating the difficulties experienced during obtaining and sending it out majorly due to the economic structure, over-dependency on oil, low export revenue and fixed exchange rates.
All these points to the inevitable control of capitals.
This according to Chimenem, means that foreign investors, importers and anyone with expenses overseas are going to have a hard time getting forex from their bank and may have to resort to the black market while paying up to 35% higher.
Also, the combination of a fixed exchange rate regime and an economy that depends on oil translates to Nigeria’s foreign reserve depending on oil.
A consequence of this bothers on a scarcity of foreign exchange required by businesses and individuals engaged in importing and having to spend overseas for expenses incurred.
“We strongly believe that trade is essential and that’s why we’ve built Breeze. With Breeze, you can send up to $20,000 per transaction to the US, UK, Canada, China and 100 other countries.
“We are also going to provide convenience to importers by assisting them with their freight and customs clearing.”
According to the Co-founders, the platform would be launching more products that would allow users to have multi-currency balances; physical cards with no spending limits that work everywhere; and trade finance for importers.
How Breeze works
As stated by the founder, Breeze is easy to use. A User deposits money into his or her Breeze naira wallet, selects the country of destination and then inputs the recipients’ details.
Breeze charges 0.5% plus 1000 Naira for each transfer on their platform. Payouts would be received in 1–3 business days.
The transfer limits on Breeze depend on the know your customer (KYC) information a user provides. There are three tiers for individual customers that require you to verify your email address, identity and address.
- Tier 1 — full name, email address and phone number
- Tier 2 — date of birth, identity card (NIN, voter’s ID or driver’s license)
- Tier 3 — proof of address (utility bill, bank statement, lease agreement etc.)
NB: Tier 1 users cannot send money overseas while Tier 2 and 3 have a $2,000 and $10,000 transaction limit respectively.
With not many options available, it takes months to bid for forex through the IE window or the black-market where you pay very high rates.
Limited foreign exchange liquidity and excessive capital controls have made it very hard for Nigerians who trade and transact across borders to send money.
However, Breeze appears to have a solution to this challenge.
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