Is Abeg App Africa's Cash App?
A glance at a new peer-to-peer payment app in Africa - Abeg
This week, I was intrigued by tweets popping up on my Twitter timeline, all containing chatter about an app people were calling Abeg. They kept posting what was apparently their app IDs, asking that others send them money. While being a Nigerian and openly expressing a desire for funds is not an alien phenomenon for most Nigerians, I decided to find out why this app was suddenly flavour of the month.
So, I was led, like Alice, to the Abeg website and then the Android Playstore to download the Abeg app. Yeah, that’s how I became an “Abeger” (If you have a better name for us, please let’s hear it).
The Case for the Abeg App
In West Africa, mostly in Nigeria, Abeg is a slang that translates to “please.” A word used to plead for something.
"Chairman, abeg make you send me something small. You fit use the Abeg app."
This was in 2018; we now have our Cash App alternative.
Liked the famed Cash App, Abeg is a fun and interactive social payment app for making easy, safe and fast payments for African Millennials.
Now away from marketing copy, Abeg aims to give African millennials the flexibility to spend their money however and whenever they please.
You can send and request money from people on your phone contact list who are also users of the app. Abeg’s goal is to make sending money fun and functional.
Africa is currently enjoying a fintech boom. There are a lot of financial apps that you can use to send and receive money but there’s still a lot left to be desired in terms of intuitiveness and user-friendliness.
Abeg’s value proposition is clear. It was designed for the African Millenial. It is a P2P payment app with a social twist.
Its request for money feature, allows you to solicit for funds from family, friends and even strangers. Like Cash App, all you need is their unique identifier — what the Abeg team calls “tags”.
Unlike a lot of fintech apps that are riddled with countless user experience issues. The Abeg app UX is quite sleek. This doesn't mean Abeg’s app is perfect.
Abeg is a very functional app that has its branding and message on lock. It also seems to have a grasp of its audience’s preferred language. For example, something as simple as the wittily-captioned emoji on the website that communicates its inclusive nature.
“Abeg boss, come do giveaway”
Who doesn’t like a giveaway? These days, in these economic conditions, it’s no longer strange to see folks responding to the slightest sign of affluence with requests for a charitable handout.
Sometimes, these requests become fun preemptive ways of ensuring the other party doesn’t ask you for money first. For others, like Mark’s tweet says, it can be a sure path to building considerable social capital.
What might the future hold for the Abeg App?
The Abeg app reveals its plans to integrate commerce via a merch store, add a feature that allows users to donate to a cause and another one where they can start group saving targets too. All brilliant ideas.
Yet, while there’s an argument they need to remain as simple as possible, there are a few features I believe they ought to consider. Where future growth might come from.
Lend Money: I think this is a no brainer. The Abeg app is already doing P2P payments so integrating P2P lending would seem practical. Different markers can be added to a lending transaction to prompt faster repayment. A feature where you can also keep track of the people you have lent money to in addition to a credit score attached to users would be helpful. This way, you can decide if someone is credit-worthy based on their rating.
Crypto: Whether you believe in crypto or not, crypto is here to stay for a long time. An Abeg app vertical into crypto will not be too surprising, Having to send Abeg coins (ABC) would be splendid too.
Instant Cross-border money transfers: Sending money that reflects instantly across different African countries remains a hurdle for most Africans. There are a few products that are currently tackling this issue like Chipper Cash and Ecobank’s Rapid transfer. But this particular market hasn’t been fully cornered yet. Although Chipper Cash seems like the market leader with a presence in multiple countries and its 100% free feature for P2P transactions. Abeg integrating an M-Pesa-like option for money transfers will likely put it on its way to being the go-to option for cross-border transfers in Africa.
Abeg Debit Card: Abeg users being able to request a debit card that can be used at brick and mortar stores or ATMs would be quite something similar to Cash App’s free Visa-verified Cash Card.
Even though it is only currently available in Nigeria, I think it is only a matter of time before a lot of Africans can use Abeg.
Within 5 days of its launch, the Abeg has gotten over 1000 downloads on the Andriod play store. iOS users on Twitter have been constantly requesting for the Abeg iOS app. I guess they won’t have to wait long for it.
Abeg’s product virality, albeit still brief, highlights both its functionality and design. While some might slate it as encouraging a behaviour of begging, it is important to remember that we all need help sometimes.
The Abeg team will have to find a way to curtail spam requests. Currently, anyone can send you a request for money if they have your Abeg tag. While you can decline these requests, it would be better to forestall the burden on users. Could this lead to some friction with user experience, perhaps, but it is always good to couple great tech with even greater ethics.
Amongst a slew of P2P apps in Africa, Abeg differentiates itself with its social features. I won’t be surprised if more people turn to it as their preferred option for sending and receiving money. Significant funding before the year runs out is not an outlandish expectation either.
Since I’m very much an optimist, I’ll be rooting for Abeg and its team. I hope you will too.
You can show me some love by buying me a coffee on the Abeg app: “@fosi” 😉😁.
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