Smart addressing startup, OkHi, has launched its smart address verification product with Interswitch Group, Africa’s leading technology-driven company focused on the digitization of payments across the continent. Quickteller, Interswitch’s payments and wallet service, has become the first business in Nigeria to use the OkHi address verification service.
Founded in Kenya in 2014, OkHi provides digital address verification to financial services, tackling a problem space that is holding back growth and stifling access to credit for millions of Nigerians. OkHi’s smart addressing technology makes it easy for financial services to verify their customer’s addresses through their smartphone, replacing the need for utility bills or physical visits.
Following the launch, Interswitch will provide all of their customers an OkHi address, providing them access to larger wallets, faster loans and improving last-mile delivery through Quickteller’s Citimart and Global Mall. In addition, Quickteller customers with an OkHi address will be able to use it for personal purposes or with other delivery services – helping to make daily tasks easier.
The unique technology provides an alternative to existing KYC and paper-based processes, facilitating a more seamless digital service, helping to reduce onboarding times and lower operating costs. With the accelerating digital adoption in Nigeria, and its transformation of the way people interact, OkHi’s arrival is well-timed. In a recent pilot with Stanbic IBTC, OkHi proved that it could increase the accuracy of address verification by 29%, increase the speed by 4x and reduce the cost by 52%.
Timbo Drayson, CEO and Founder of OkHi said: “At OkHi, we have developed the first solution in the world that can collect an extremely accurate address and verify it through a smartphone. To have Interswitch launching us to millions of people, via Quickteller, gives us an incredible platform to tackle financial inclusion in Nigeria.”
Commenting on the announcement, Chinyere Don-Okhuofu, Interswitch Group’s Divisional CEO for Industry Ecosystem, said: “At Interswitch, we take our customers and their evolving needs seriously and we are committed to identifying opportunities to unlock economic value for Africans. This partnership with OkHi is built on the need to digitize and simplify the existing address verification system thereby dealing with another significant barrier to financial services growth across Africa’.”
According to OkHi, it is estimated that the lack of addressing costs the Nigerian economy $3 billion a year in inefficiency. Without an addressing system, it is very difficult for financial services and businesses to know where their customer actually lives.
Today, the process is manual; financial services either check utility bills, which are often inaccurate and unreliable or send a human agent to the address, which is expensive and slow. When a customer relocates, the address is then out of date. Ultimately, if a financial service provider cannot verify where a customer lives, there is a limit to the services they can provide the person.
OkHi will be going live with other prominent customers in the neo banking and mobile lending space as they look to play their part in Nigeria’s digital transformation.