List of online banks approved by CBN

Online banks, otherwise known as digital banks or Neobanks are banks licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to provide Microfinance banking services to Nigerians. These banks primarily operate through mobile apps and despite being entirely digital, they enjoy the same rights and privileges as traditional banks.

Although, traditional banks and commercial banks offers broader financial services than digital banks. However, digital banks could provide unique and specific features that can be advantageous for customers and potential customers.

Online banking is gaining momentum in Nigeria simply by utilizing advance technology to provide solutions to Nigerian’s financial problems. Furthermore, they offers low charges, convenience, and efficient internet-based transactions.

However, to support the promotion of financial inclusions in Nigeria, CBN is authorizing digital banks, fintech companies and payment gateway platforms. Don’t get it twisted, the three financial categories receives different operating License from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Digital Banks (otherwise known as Online Banks or Neobanks) operate under Microfinance Bank (MFB) License, while Fintech firms (such as OPay, PalmPay and Moniepoint) operate under Mobile Money Operator (MMO) License, and Payment Gateway Platforms (such as Flutterwave, Monnify and Paystack) operate under Payment Service Bank (PSB) License.

The most interesting part is that the three licensing categories are allowed to offer point-of-sales (POS) services in Nigeria. Check out the List of POS companies approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to operate in Nigeria as a mobile money service providers.

As of February 2023, approximately 894 companies have been licensed as Microfinance Banks (MFB), as per the CBN database. However, not all of them are fully digital or can be consider digital bank.

The digital banks/online banks are mobile-only banks that offers financial services through mobile applications, no physical presence, and they all fall under the fintech ecosystem but serve almost the same purpose as traditional banks.

In this article, I’ve highlighted some top online banks that are approved by CBN in Nigeria as a Licensed-Microfinance Banks (MFB). Hence, let’s delve in without Foda-ado.

Top 10 best online banks in Nigeria

Top 10 Digital Banks Licensed by CBN

Here are the top 10 digital banks/online banks/neobanks licensed by the CBN as microfinance banks in Nigeria.

Kuda Bank

Kuda is a fintech company that’s fully approved by CBN as a Microfinance Bank in Nigeria. Kuda Bank offers financial services to the banked, unbanked and underbanked Nigerians. With its 25 free transfers to other banks every month, Kuda is consider bank of the free. Here’s how to create Kuda Bank Account.

Although, Kudabank is licensed in Nigeria by CBN, but it carryout operations in London, England. In other words, Kuda is a London-based fintech firm that focus mainly on the Nigerian Market for business.

Kuda Bank; Online Bank in Nigeria

Some services that Kuda offer in Nigeria as a digital bank/microfinance bank includes a free debit card, free 25 transfers every month, saving, spend and investment plans, loans, foreign account (Dom Account in USD, EURO and GBP), and seamless and user-friendly mobile app for day-to-day transactions.

Is Kuda Approved by CBN? Yes, Kudabank is a mobile-only licensed digital bank in Nigeria to offer microfinance bank services at zero-fees (no maintenance fees) to the banked, unbanked and underbanked customers.

Moniepoint

Moniepoint is another online bank approved by CBN as a Microfinance Bank in Nigeria. Although, the finance-technology firm started as a POS company with a mobile money operator license that allows its Agents to receive payments, access loans and manage operations with a business banking app and a POS terminal.

Not quit long ago, Moniepoint delve into personal banking ecosystem where it provides easy access to banking services that enables people to pay online and offline with ease, transfer money and pay bills without hassle.

Moniepoint Personal Banking is approved and licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria as a Microfinance Bank (MFB), while it POS subsidiary is licensed as a Mobile Money Operator (MMO) in Nigeria. In other words, Moniepoint is a legit digital bank that’s leveraging technology (Google Cloud) to offer a safe and secure banking solutions.

ALAT

ALAT is the first mobile-only digital bank in Nigeria. The online bank is approved by CBN as a Microfinance Bank in Nigeria and it’s a subsidiary company of WEMA Bank. ALAT by WEMA has being in existence before Kuda Bank; the Neobank was established in May 2, 2017 and Kudabank was launched in Nigeria as a licensed digital bank in 2019.

The Nigerian’s first fully digital bank, ALAT, was launched with a goal to create a banking services that is flexible, easy to use, and suited for people who value their time, reliability, and enjoy the convenience that comes with technology.

As a mobily-only and online bank, ALAT provides easy-to-access banking app that allow Nigerians to carry out their financial offerings seamlessly, conveniently and easily. In the app, you’ll be able to send money to any bank in Nigeria, apply for loans, request for physical and virtual debit card, make web payment, pay bills and lot more.

According to record unveiled by WEMA Bank, three years ago, ALAT has processed almost 900,000 transactions worth up to N12 billion. The online bank also recorded the threshold of over 200,000 active customers. Hence, the digital bank hype itself as the leading FINTECH movement in Nigeria. Learn more about ALAT here.

FairMoney

Yes, FairMoney is a duly licensed digital bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The fintech firm uses it Microfinance Bank License to focus majorly on Lending. In other words, FairMoney is a CBN-approved online bank offering Lending services digitally to Nigerians.

Fairmoney provide fast and instant loans of up-to 1 million naira to borrowers. The digital microfinance bank also offers bank account number and spending cards to it users. The fintech firm has unveiled the processing of over 10,000 loans every day, with one loan disbursed every eight seconds.

Fairmoney App is the most downloaded fintech app in Nigeria. The app has also set a record of five million users in the recent years. In the Fairmoney app, you’ll be served with features like personal banking, school fees payment, loans, emergency bills, saving and investment plans, e.t.c. However, make sure you read and understand the credit-led digital bank’s term and condition before you apply for loan on the platform.

Sparkle

Sparkle is approved by the CBN as an authorized Microfinance Bank (MFB) in Nigeria. The fintech firm helps SMEs and Individuals to fulfill their desire for digitalized banking. Founded in 2019, Sparkle specialize it offerings on financial services, financial lifestyles, and digital transformations.

As we all know that digitized banking is a popular innovation in 2023 and years to come, people prefer to switch from traditional banking to online banking because it is stress-free, seamless, and convenient. Sparkle is leveraging technology to bridging the gap between financial inclusions and individuals to create a digital marketplace that makes it convenient and easy to achieve business goals.

As a CBN-licensed’s digital bank in Nigeria, Sparkle offers features including Sparkle Pay; a simple way to send and receive money using a unique generated payment link, Sparkle Payroll; an easy method to pay all your employees as a time, Sparkle Stash; a simple saving and investment plan available for users to save any amount and earn interest, Breakdown, Inventory, and Tabs.

In summary, Sparkle is using the digital banking innovations to help Nigerians fulfil their potential by standardizing access to valuable solutions for their business and personal objectives. With the fintech mobile app, you can have access to all Sparkle features digitally.

Piggyvest

Yes, Piggyvest is among the list of online bank that’s approved by the CBN in Nigeria. The fintech firm uses it Microfinance Bank (MFB) License to focus majorly on Saving and Investment services. Although, it’s approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria, also, all customer deposits are insured by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC).

Piggyvest’s offerings for saving and investment services includes fixed, flexible, goal-oriented, and automated savings plans. Furthermore, the finance app also offers pre-vetted low-medium risk primary and secondary investment plans for 6 to12 months. Here’s how to get Piggyvest account number easily.

Piggyvest is an approved digital bank by the CBN in Nigeria that was initially launched as “Piggybank.ng” on the 7th of January in 2016 before it was rebranded to Piggyvest in April 2019. The finance app also offers interest rates of between 7% and 35%, depending on the saving and the investment plan you choose.

Piggyvest; a Savings and Investment Digital Bank in Nigeria

Piggyvest offers six savings and investment plans and they’re: Piggybank; it’s a plan that let you to save any amount automatically — daily, weekly or monthly, Safelock; it’s a fixed savings plan that allows you to earn up to 12.5% annually, Target Savings; it’s a plan that allows you to set a financial target and save consistently towards this goal — all while earning an interest of 8% per annum, Flex Naira; it’s a wallet account account for receiving interest earned on all other wallets, Flex Dollar; it’s an an account that allows you to save in dollars, Investify; it’s a plan on Piggyvest that allows you to earn more on your savings by investing in pre-vetted, low-to-medium risk, primary and secondary investment opportunities.

Speaking about it legitimacy as a digital bank in Nigeria, apart from being an approved microfinance bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and all deposits are insured by the Nigeria Deposition Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Piggyvest has been existing since 2016, and it has also helped over 4 million customers achieve their financial goals by enabling them to save and invest easily, conveniently and seamlessly.

Carbon

Carbon is a licensed microfinance bank in Nigeria that offer users loans and credits plus savings and investment plans. Carbon, an approved online bank/digital bank by CBN, also offers virtual account number, free spending cards, bill payments, airtime and data top up and P2P payment options to users.

Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria with 90-plus working staffs. Carbon also have operating office in Ghana to offer free digital banking services to Ghanains and have an ambitious to provides access to financial services for all Africans at large.

Additionally, Carbon is an online bank with CBN’s Microfinance Bank License which its uses to empower individuals and businesses with access to credit, simple payments solutions, high-yield investment opportunities and easy-to-use tools for independent financial management. Learn more about Carbon here.

Rubies

Rubies is among the list of CBN’s Microfinance Banks in Nigeria. The fintech company got an approval to operates an array of services for other financial companies in Nigeria, as well as its own personal and small business banking product. All deposits in Rubies Microfinance Bank are insured by the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC).

As a digital bank operating in Nigeria, Rubies provide banking services that includes offerings of physical and virtual cards, payments (like paying of bills, education fees payments, airtime and data top ups, e.t.c.), savings account with earning of interest, USSD code and Budgeting. Additionally, Rubies stand as one of the best digital bank with it mobile app that come with good user interface and a very great customer service.

OneBank

OneBank by Sterling Bank is among our top 10 online banks in Nigeria. The Finance Company is owned and managed by Starling Bank of Nigeria. In other words, OneBank is the online-only subsidiary fintech company of Sterling Bank.

The Sterling Bank’s digital bank offer virtual savings accounts to users. It also offer free virtual cards that can be spend online anywhere MasterCard and VISA card is accepted. Additionally, you can request for verve debit card for all your ATM spending, plus access to loans, savings and investment plans.

Furthermore, OneBank provide direct payments for bills, airtime and data topup, cardless cash withdrawals and foreign exchange transfers.

GoMoney

GoMoney is one of the best CBN’s Licensed Finance Companies in Nigeria. The online/digital bank offers stress-free banking on customer’s phone from anywhere in Nigeria at no hidden cost with the bank they deserve. The fintech company is 100% digital, it simplifies and streamlines local and international money transfer and offers other financial services through it user-friendly mobile application.

Conclusion; The 10 online banks approved by CBN

Top 10 best digital banks in Nigeria

In conclusion, the emergence of online banks in Nigeria, authorized and approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), marks a significant milestone in the country’s financial landscape. These digital banking institutions have not only provided an alternative to traditional banking but have also brought convenience, accessibility, and innovation to the forefront of financial services.

With 10 CBN-approved online banks to choose from, consumers in Nigeria now have a range of options to suit their specific needs, whether it’s seamless mobile banking, zero or low fees, or innovative financial products. This development not only empowers individuals but also encourages financial inclusion, making banking services accessible to a wider segment of the population.

As the digital banking industry in Nigeria continues to grow and evolve, it is crucial for consumers to stay informed about the various offerings, features, and benefits that these online banks provide. Whether you’re looking for a secure platform to manage your finances, a convenient way to make transactions, or a bank that aligns with your financial goals, the CBN-approved online banks in Nigeria offer a diverse array of services to cater to your needs.

In a world where technology is transforming the way we live and work, the rise of online banks is not just a trend but a necessity. As these digital financial institutions continue to innovate and adapt to the changing needs of their customers, the future of banking in Nigeria is indeed promising. So, whether you’re a tech-savvy individual or simply seeking a more convenient way to manage your money, exploring the options among these CBN-approved online banks can help you find a banking experience that suits your lifestyle and preferences.

Leave a Comment