We know we are building a product that the people out there need, but sometimes, it's better to hear how our customers interact with our product. We contacted Franklin, the CEO of Boundless Nexus, to share his experience using Bloc so far. It was an exciting conversation, one I'd very much love to have again.
Today, we're telling the story of BoundlessPay, a FinTech startup in Nigeria helping Africans move money across the world.
Sending money outside Nigeria is still problematic, even in 2023. This is a decade from when Franklin tried to transfer funds to a friend's sibling in China in 2013. At the time, Moneygram and Western Union were the only ways to send money out of the country, but this would require one to queue in a local bank branch that offered such services.
"After spending hours in a queue awaiting my turn, I discovered this bank had exhausted their daily transfer limit for international transfers. The attendant asked me to check with other banks, but the story wouldn't be any different", Franklin explained. "Safe to say I left there very salty."
After so much back and forth, Franklin made the transfer, spending 15% - 17% of the total amount on transaction charges.
"Sending the funds was one half of the problem; the recipient getting it was another. It took days before the person could receive the money", Franklin said. At this point, it became glaring that there was a huge problem when it came to performing cross-border payments in Nigeria, and many years after my experience, he concluded that cross-border payment is still a challenge to many Nigerians.
In less than two years, Franklin will discover blockchain technology and process a transaction of a million dollars to the same destination, spending just about $1 on transaction charges. According to Franklin, though the transaction was so voluminous, it took less than 10 seconds for the person to receive the money, and both parties could track the money sent. So clearly, there was something here, and he started researching how to leverage emerging technology to solve problems in the payments space.
Speed of transaction, transparency, and safety.
With technological advancement, banking is undergoing a remarkable transformation and, even more so, the FinTech industry. BoundlessPay comes into the fray with a remarkable solution for cross-border payment. With BoundlessPay, you can turn your cell phone into a powerful digital bank with an app with a pre-installed digital wallet and debit card, allowing you to store and spend digital currencies effortlessly across global merchants. However, BoundlessPay goes beyond just transactions — it offers utility payments, digital currency investments, and much more, all in a single app.
The experience of carrying out transactions using blockchain emphasizing transaction speed, transparency, and safety is the foundation on which BoundlessPay was built. Starting as an exchange platform for crypto-fiat transactions, it has evolved into what now focuses on payment collection, settlement and remittance.
Discovering Bloc—The Financial Services Infrastructure Company
"BoundlessPay launched in 2019, and the initial idea was a payment gateway for the blockchain ecosystem. However, as it turned out, that version was too early, the market needed to be ready, and there was still the regulation tussle everywhere. So we released a second version focused on virtual and physical cards, which was also short-lived due to regulatory issues. While we iterated and focused on building a global fintech product, I searched for a financial service infrastructure partner that could take some work off our team", Franklin commented.
"At a friend's wedding, while discussing some of the things we were working on, he mentioned Bloc as his [BaaS infrastructure] partner. We had several options presented to us, but none matched the standard we wanted to operate at as a company - we were looking for an innovative, forward-thinking and flexible FinTech Infrastructure company. I did my research, and that's how we found Bloc", he concluded.
BoundlessPay integrated Bloc while we were in private beta and has built their product alongside ours since then. Franklin shared that, "It was important to me that we worked with a company that was early stage and we could build our product alongside theirs making it seem like a partnership as opposed to a client-agency relationship. I wanted a company we could grow with, that was flexible enough to accommodate our needs and feedback. Big, established companies tend not to give you that privilege.
“Having to support [Bloc] through [its] beta stage with feedback, we have been able to watch you guys grow. And that matters to us; growth and the willingness to expand”.
How BoundlessPay is leveraging Bloc's Infrastructure
Leveraging Bloc's infrastructure, BoundlessPay has been able to do over 300 million Naira in transaction volume and leveraged Bloc to power these transactions. Serving about 15,000 customers across Africa, BoundlessPay is leveraging Bloc's technology to power its Transfers product allowing its customers transfer money in and out of their accounts.
Bloc has successfully integrated with the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBBS), which makes it all the more possible for users to collect and transfer money out of their accounts [Banc Corps issued account numbers]. Transfers between two Banc Corps accounts happen almost instantaneously, which gives BoundlessPay an advantage in the speed of transactions when dealing with their customers.
As our customers, BoundlessPay can also manage all these accounts via the Bloc API or Dashboard.
Our goal is to ensure businesses can focus on what's most important to them while we handle all of their infrastructural needs, and this is what we are doing with Boundlesspay. We are looking at the future of seamless cross-border payment in Africa and helping BoundlessPay make life easier for Africans.
Experience so far using Bloc.
"We started using the virtual accounts feature on Bloc while considering also offering virtual cards. Before we knew it, 'boom!', we got a notification from Bloc saying Virtual card was in Beta, and we were asked to join the Beta program. We joined and integrated in 48 hours, of course, I expected stuff not to work well, but to my shock, when I tested it, everything worked perfectly. It was the fastest deployment we'd ever done; it didn't seem like Beta", Franklin said.
Franklin continued as he shared with us his experience before discovering Bloc, he said, "Before Bloc, while we were checking out other platforms, it was a hassle even to complete compliance, not to talk about integrating their infrastructure. But with Bloc, it was seamless; we could speak with an account manager after signing up, which helped us come on board in less than a day. The speed was [incredible]!"
"And, of course, this has helped cut in half time to launch and allowed us to ship new features much faster than we planned", he said excitedly.
He continued, "The keyword for me is partnership. We're being held by the hand and walking this journey together with Bloc. We are part of a growing family. Every month, there's been one new feature, innovation or improvement. Bloc feels like a living organism, constantly growing and evolving, and it's incredible being a part of that and having my company benefit from that".
"We've had the highest positive feedback from our users since using Payout, virtual accounts and other features. Bloc has definitely contributed to our business's growth and helped retain current customers. I have already recommended and will keep recommending Bloc to every startup building in the FinTech ecosystem." He concluded.
We ended our conversation by asking Franklin about who he'd love to have lunch and his answer was quite unexpected.
Who would it be if you could choose one person to have lunch with, anyone in the world?
"Elon Musk! I love how his mind works and his business sense. I draw a lot of energy following his stories, and I'm inspired by how he reacts to situations."
As a company, our goal is to ensure businesses can focus on what’s most important to them while we handle all of their infrastructural needs, and this is what we are doing with BoundlessPay. We are looking at a future of seamless cross-border payment in Africa, and we are helping BoundlessPay make life easier for Africans at large.