Nomanini rolls out loans system for merchants in Ghana


South Africa-based enterprise payments platform provider Nomanini has launched a loans system for merchants on its platform, aimed at offering credit to informal retailers previously excluded from financial services. 

Founded in 2010, Nomanini has designed a payments platform that enables informal merchants and micro-entrepreneurs in emerging markets to distribute digital goods, including airtime and prepaid electricity.

The company’s solutions for merchant transactions and service management platform enable enterprises to efficiently distribute digital goods, while also creating additional income for entrepreneurs in informal markets.

Having collected a large dataset on informal merchants across developing markets, Nomanini is now trialling a system whereby Ghanaian merchants on its platform will be offered overnight loans of up to US$100.

“Traditionally, the merchants we serve have lacked access to finance, but this rollout breaks down those barriers. Long-term we will be looking for partners to help us offer advances to as many merchants as need them, and in doing so we can play a part in helping informal economies grow.”

The aim of the new system is to offer merchants increased access to capital and help them develop a financial history as a retail business to enable them to access working capital.

“While Nomanini has been focused on merchant transactions thus far, we have gathered a lot of data on merchants. These individuals have for the most part been unable to access credit as banks know little or nothing about them. Our goal is to enable our merchants to grow their businesses by assisting them in building a financial history and gain access to working capital,” said Nomanini CEO Vahid Monadjem.

The loans system is currently available to only Ghanaian merchants, offering overnight and weekly advances. Nomanini has already completed its first advances and will spend the next few months collecting repayment and default data on merchants with the aim of presenting it to possible partners in March. After March, Nomanini aims to be able to expand the service to other markets, offering larger amounts for longer durations.

Monadjem said the company had always known the data it was collecting on merchants in informal markets would prove useful.

“This is the most immediate case of applying what we have learnt about merchants in a practical way. There has been a lot of focus on consumer loans. We want to start the conversation about lending to retail SMEs,” he said.

The loans system was accelerated by Nomanini’s involvement in the FIBR project, a new project of BFA in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation. FIBR is working with a partners such as fintech companies, small businesses, traditional banks and microfinance institutions to provide data-driven ways to bring financial services to unbanked and underserved populations.

Nomanini, alongside Farmerline and the IT Consortium, are project partners in Ghana, as FIBR seeks ways of transforming emerging data about low-income individuals and linking them to financial services.