American Express Launches First Business Credit Card In Nigeria

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American Express Co. has unveiled its first business credit card in Nigeria through a collaboration with local neobank O3 Capital, potentially enhancing dollar accessibility for businesses in the West African nation.

The new card, introduced on Thursday in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, offers businesses a spending limit of $10,000 and a repayment period of up to 45 days for international transactions. Other O3 Capital-Amex cards, designed for personal and household use, will carry spending limits ranging from $10,000 to $20,000.

President of Global Network Services at American Express, Mohammed Badi, expressed the company’s enthusiasm about expanding its footprint in Nigeria and across Africa.

“The first-ever American Express Business Card in the most populous African country will give us another way to support local businesses with their growth aspirations. American Express is excited to continue to strengthen its presence in Nigeria and expand its reach across Africa,” Badi said in a statement.

This partnership aims to address challenges posed by Nigeria’s persistent dollar scarcity, which has contributed to significant volatility in the local currency, the naira. Since foreign exchange reforms in mid-2023, the naira has lost 65% of its value against the U.S. dollar.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has encouraged banks to source dollars independently to alleviate demand pressures, yet accessing dollars remains difficult. Consequently, most Nigerian banks have limited or halted the use of naira-denominated credit cards for international transactions, offering such services primarily to affluent clients.

 

O3 Capital CEO, Abimbola Pinheiro, highlighted the advantages of the new card, stating, “The O3 Amex card solves the problem of queuing at banks for business travel allowance and personal travel allowance.”

O3 Capital aims to issue 16,000 American Express cards by the end of 2024 and expand to about one million cards over the next five years. The company also plans to extend its offerings to other African markets, including Rwanda, Congo, and Ghana, where it expects to introduce Amex cards by the end of 2025.

Badi revealed that American Express intends to broaden its reach in Africa from 30 to 42 countries, citing increased demand from consumers and small businesses for its cards.

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