2018 was a stellar year for the Paylater team — our best one yet. Yes yes, we say that every year, but each time out surprises us with just how much change happens in the space of twelve months.
We saw over 300% growth in loans from 2017, launched several new products that have strengthened our service even further, and fostered a closer-knit and more financially-empowered Paylater community across the country.
Here are a few highlights from what we got up to through the year.
Growth & Milestones
As our first (and most prominent) product, loan numbers are always a good barometer for the state of our service.
We quickly realized it was going to be an impressive year as we’d already surpassed 2017 numbers by April, but the numbers kept climbing at an even faster pace, driven by word of mouth and customers who kept trusting us as their financial partner (80% of eligible Paylater borrowers returned for a repeat loan in 2018). By year-end, we had set new highs for unique borrowers, the number of loans disbursed and total disbursement volume.
We celebrated 2 years in the game in May, and not too long after that, reached our millionth app download.
The Paylater App is 2 years old today! 🎉
It’s been quite the journey so far, with a lot of changes – whether you’re a day 1 customer that’s stuck it out with us, or fairly new to our service, we appreciate your role in our story. ❤️https://t.co/OwnVNQfvFw #PaylaterTurns2
— Paylater (@paylaterNG) May 18, 2018
We also welcomed several new team members. Our Customer Success team alone expanded from 4 to 30 people in the course of the year — as we ramped up to increase capacity and reduce response times to deliver a world-class experience for our customers. At 4,000 support tickets daily, we’re resolving about 40x the number of tickets we did at the start of the year, with a Net Promoter Score of 77%.
Our engineering, data science and product teams were also pretty busy — they worked on releasing 19 app updates, got our systems up to 99.9% uptime across all services and developed a few key new products through the year.
New Paylater products
As at the start of the year, Paylater was solely a loan provider. In 2018, we made our first foray outside of offering instant loans.
In March, we launched payments on Paylater — allowing customers to recharge airtime, funds transfers, and pay bills — directly in the app. By the end of 2018, we had processed ₦2 billion in transactions over 500,000 unique transactions, creating a lot of new business in a segment that did not exist for us a year ago. We’re excited to see its growth in 2019 as we make payments easier, cheaper and more valuable to the everyday Paylater customer.
In July, we launched Payvest, a high-yield investment product which allows Paylater investors to earn interest rates of up to 15.5%, a leading return across the Nigerian financial system. Investors placed ₦827m ($2.3m) in our investment note during 2018.
We’ve just updated the app, with our fantastic new investment feature called PayVest! 🚀
Here’s what’s on offer:
– Earn great investment returns, up to 15.5% annually 📈
– Create up to 5 investment plans 🔀
– Zero fees/hidden charges ⛔️
— Paylater (@paylaterNG) July 4, 2018
Coming in right at the end of the year — in collaboration with a licensed microfinance bank partner — was our newest feature Paylater Wallet, which created a channel for customers to store value and earn rewards on Paylater, all while performing transactions and receiving loan disbursements even quicker than when sent to a traditional bank account.
Honourable mentions: We also launched a Payroll loan product and a Personal Finance Manager in the app to help customers track income and expenditure and get more control over their money.
Outside of products, we focused on ensuring our customers get maximum value from being in the Paylater network. Financial services can only be truly empowering when you understand how best to use them.
In October 2018, we partnered with two of the three national credit bureaus, becoming the first financial institution in Nigeria to provide access to free credit reports for all loan applicants. We’re particularly proud of this because while credit reporting is an essential feature of credit systems across the world, many Nigerians still do not know that credit bureaus even exist or understand their importance in financial matters.
This has since become a valuable tool for our customers to understand their financial records, learn how to build a credit history and access cheaper credit.
Keeping track of my Credit Report is very important. Thanks for making me see one and paying attention to it!
— Dickson Iyamu (@dickiyamu) December 31, 2018
In the course of the year, we also developed a weekly newsletter series which serves as a direct connection between us and customers — delivered in an accessible and light manner, but more importantly, allowing us to share important financial tips to help our customers unlock the power of money. With a weekly readership of a few hundred thousand, it’s quickly become a popular platform to get smarter about finance.
Amazing things happen when you bring awesome people together. In October, we set up a members-only group for Paylater on Facebook, as a way to create more engagement within our community — sometimes it’s great to be able to interact with real humans with real thoughts, even if our platform is a virtual one. It’s since become a central hub for financial tips and business ideas getting shared, lasting connections being formed and a melting pot for the very people that make Paylater possible — our customers.
Best in Class
Through the year, we received recognition from a few global players — we started off as part of Google’s Launchpad Accelerator in San Francisco and joined the inaugural Alibaba eFounders program in Hangzhou. 🌍
We were also the subject of case studies done by Facebook and Amazon, and then Paylater also became the first fintech in Africa to secure a global credit rating, serving as an indicator of the stability of our service, especially as regulation for financial services in Nigeria continues to evolve.
Some exciting news for us – being the first in Nigeria to secure a global credit rating is a strong indicator that your financial partner is in good shape.🏋🏾♂️
Check out the article! https://t.co/7UKrxwrzgm
— Paylater (@paylaterNG) December 11, 2018
In 2019, our focus on expanding access to financial services and providing value to our customers is even sharper.
There will be added functionality to the new Paylater Wallet — a debit card for customers to perform transactions and/or withdraw money nationwide, rewards for transacting, and lots more. 💳
Another much-requested feature will be a brand new product that will help our customers to set and reach their financial goals by taking various actions in the app, which will be tailored specifically to each individual.
And that’s just what’s planned for Q1.
This year, we’re going to take things up a notch. We’ll be extra excited to have you join us! 💥