Carbon, a Nigerian fintech company, has discontinued its debit card services two years post-launch. This announcement was made by co-founder and CEO Ngozi Dozie in a Substack post on Wednesday.

Carbon stops debit card operations in Nigeria - AllNews Nigeria

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While Dozie did not explicitly state the reasons behind the shutdown, his post implied that introducing the card service might have been a misstep. Additionally, the current forex challenges, which increased operational costs in dollars, likely played a role in the decision.

Reflecting on the situation, Dozie wrote, “With hindsight and a card operation bill in USD$, I question why so many neobanks push for card services. Was it the right move for all of us, or was Carbon just unlucky?”

Dozie highlighted a common mistake among founders—making decisions with insufficient analysis. He admitted that he might have reconsidered the card launch if he had thoroughly analyzed the industry beforehand.

“In retrospect, Nigerians already have numerous debit cards,” he acknowledged. “Had I evaluated the opportunity fully, I might have been more cautious about adding another card to the market. The decision might have been the same, but with a better understanding of the potential risks.”

Dozie also speculated that having a debit card might have boosted customer trust in Carbon, likening it to major banks with their well-marketed cards. However, he advised fintech startups to critically analyze the industry before venturing into card services.

Currently, fintech companies like Kuda, Moniepoint, and OPay offer debit cards to their customers. While Carbon partnered with international provider Visa, other fintechs are opting for locally advantageous Verve cards amidst the forex challenges.

When Carbon introduced its debit cards in August 2021, it marked a significant step in its transition from Nigeria’s leading digital lender to a microfinance bank licensed by the CBN. The company aimed to enhance user experience and broaden its customer base by offering a comprehensive banking service.

 

 

 

 

Victoria Ibiama