Solimi prepaid card

Gaël Matina Egbidi, Togo

Finalist

The Solimi prepaid card is a Visa-backed card and digital account that does not require users to be customers of a specific bank, making interoperability between local and international means of payment, significantly reducing financial costs to give unbanked individuals more access to the digital economy. Software engineer Gaël Matina Egbidi and her team created the financial product in order to improve financial inclusivity.

Africa’s financial inclusion problem is significant – with at least 66% of the population estimated to be unbanked. In Togo only 20% have access to banking services, with fewer than 10% of Togolese having a bank card. The lack of access to finances is problematic in several ways. In a region with small, isolated markets, minor changes in supply or demand can greatly impact households and small businesses that are not connected to the global economy. Without bank accounts, individuals struggle to access credit, or advance their careers beyond cash or mobile-money wages. Financial literacy, often overly technical and inaccessible, creates an additional barrier for unbanked communities to enter the global financial system and benefit from a large, connected market.

Launched in March 2022, Solimi customers can easily in 2 minutes buy the card online or physically even if they don’t have a bank account, top it up with money (cash, mobile money or through bank transfers) through Solimi mobile app or USSD. Customers can receive money from abroad on their cards, make purchases both in-store and online. Because the card is supported by Visa, it gives customers who may not previously have even had a bank account, access to the global economy, with purchases enabled anywhere ordinary Visa cards can be used.

Uniquely, the Solimi prepaid card allows users to convert cash into virtual money, and conversely, that can then be used to pay for purchases online or even drawn at a Visa-backed ATM.  Not only can the card be topped up with mobile money through the mobile app, but users can also send money from the card to mobile wallet accounts. Solimi has developed an USSD technology to allow user top-up and manage their card even if they don’t have internet connection because of the low penetration of internet in Togo at 23%.

If a customer loses their card, they simply report it to Solimi to have it blocked, much like with an ordinary bank card. Cards can also be blocked via the Solimi mobile app.

Customers can have wages and salaries paid into the cards, send money to other Solimi customers or visa cards, buy groceries, fuel, goods and more in stores or online, and draw cash.

Using artificial intelligence, Solimi will analyse customer behaviour, predict purchases and help Egbidi and her team adapt their services to localised habits.

Uniquely, the Solimi prepaid card allows users to convert mobile money to cash that can then be used to pay for purchases online or even drawn at a Visa-backed ATM.

“We believe Solimi can have an enormous impact on both unbanked and low-income communities. By making financial inclusion far more affordable, as well as simpler and more versatile, we can walk together to a cashless world that works for everyone at every level of wealth.”
Gaël Matina Egbidi
“We believe Solimi can have an enormous impact on both unbanked and low-income communities. By making financial inclusion far more affordable, as well as simpler and more versatile, we can walk together to a cashless world that works for everyone at every level of wealth.”
Gaël Matina Egbidi

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