One of the ways to improve the adoption of financial services today is through the practice of open banking as it is a veritable tool that enables fintechs to seamlessly work with corporates, banks and agents around the financial network.
Startups addressing financial challenges while leveraging technology often address different segments which include banks, lenders and regular customers.
Owing to this it appears necessary to have a gateway that can pool APIs from multiple sources under a unified specification.
If banks and similar financial institutions can align with this realization, they can demonstrate the commercial value of opening up APIs to businesses.
To continue driving this, there appears a need to adopt a new kind of financial services ecosystem that will offer a level playing ground to all individuals while offering value.
We caught up with Ope Adeoye, Founder and CEO of OnePipe, an API fintech startup who took us through how the company is creating a new financial gateway.
OnePipe is one of Ingressive Capital portfolio company that started out in 2018 as a platform that offers fintechs access to a suite of robust, secure and standardized APIs from banks and other financial service providers.
This offering has significantly optimized costs due to endless negotiations and complex integrations, thereby promoting a seamless interaction among fintech operators, banks and other incumbents.
In recent times, OnePipe has consolidated the value offering by leveraging these APIs to support non-financial institutions in achieving the penetration of financial services within their respective industries.
“We are essentially maximizing APIs to drive financial inclusion and digital financial services penetration in Nigeria.”
According to the founder, through OnePipe, every business now has the capability to embed financial services deep within their workflows and touch-points by leveraging APIs and digital assets from partner banks who are protagonists of the open banking trend in Nigeria.
Ope also noted that through the API fintech startup, banks can now provide businesses a set of unique payment solutions, in a way that such businesses that require process payments services from bank accounts and other methods, can connect to a source that consolidates APIs from an array of banks and payment providers under a common standard.
How OnePipe works
Through its gateway, the API Fintech startup cuts resources spent managing multiple integrations and negotiating contracts.
As explained by Ope, this service is used by more than 40 businesses on the demand side and numerous banks on the supply side.
“The world needs a new type of financial services ecosystem. One where everyone has a role to play, and everyone has some value to capture. And while there’s a need for some gatekeepers, their influence needs to be minimal’’
According to the founder, signing up on OnePipe, businesses, partner banks and fintechs will have access to a plethora of APIs and services that can achieve multiple outcomes and use cases in a simplified bundle which is under a common standard to ensure that these businesses need not worry about multiple integrations or long negotiation times.
Startups will be able to launch companies faster, existing financial services institutions will be able to introduce new products quickly and spend less on IT maintenance. And most importantly, this means more choices, better products, and lower prices for users.
“For businesses, integrating to our services will mean access to crucial new revenue streams. It will increase brand loyalty, and will boost customer lifetime value.”
OnePipe supports users in facilitating their profitable participation in the fintech ecosystem
Assign and operate accounts
Rather than a closed scheme wallet that potentially exposes you to regulatory scrutiny, you can issue actual bank accounts with some value-added benefits.
Launch a credit product
You can provide non-collateralized credit or credit at the point of payment, to your customers; underwritten by yourself or our partners.
Facilitate wealth growth
Provision savings and investment solutions for your loyal customers, thereby consolidating your relationship with them and supporting their growth.
Drive financial inclusion
Supercharge financial inclusion at the grassroots level via digital agents providing basic financial services that are laced with a combination of incentives.
Banks and fintechs
We asked Opeyemi about banks and fintechs, if ever they can align. The founder said that collaboration between the duo will be significantly accelerated by the rise of open banking.
According to the founder, collaboration will change the approach of competition because it demands that fintech players understand themselves as part of a broader ecosystem, rather than in a zero-sum race.
“The groundwork is well and truly laid for this collaboration to happen but we need more players to open their technology to a vast new ecosystem of fintech players.
Nigerian banks must understand their role as moving away from that of a gatekeeper and towards that of a facilitator and as the utility layer in a more distributed banking stack.”
The principles behind OnePipe
OnePipe provides a standard, simple and unified API interface which combines all feature sets available across numerous providers with the ability to easily switch from one provider to the other without changing code or integration.
OnePipe facilitates innovation, efficiency and productivity amongst its partners, the innovators leverage the standardized APIs from providers to create value for their unique use cases in their various industries
Both providers and innovators partake significantly in the value they create. As providers earn “fintech money” through the monetization of their digital assets, innovators consuming these APIs also build better products which result in growth
The world needs a new type of financial services ecosystem
One where everyone has a role to play, and everyone has some value to capture. And while there’s a need for some gatekeepers, their influence needs to be minimal.
Challenges and milestones
OnePipe has had its fair share of challenges right from integrations, to negotiations and the complexities of working with multiple banks, fintechs and systems.
“Fortunately, we are well armed with a team of focus and tenacious individuals so we have been able to scale every hurdle efficiently.
In a short time, we have been able to bring onboard numerous bank partners. We have layered our Grassroots Banking product (GRB) onto the core infrastructure and we went out to get early customers for it while loading up the sales pipeline.”
GRB makes it possible for companies and groups with a captive audience to issue and operate (well differentiated) accounts to their customers/members.
“At the end of Q1, we had a number of customer pilots in full swing and a sales pipeline that is now many leads strong.”
Ope explained that members on the OnePipe team are firm believers in the open banking movement and what the team believe it can do for financial services adoption in the world.
“We believe that demonstrating to banks (and other FIs) the commercial viability of opening up APIs to businesses will help to further accelerate interest and a willingness to participate”
Featured Image: OnePipe Team Members
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