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Fintech partnership to serve U.S.-bound Nigerians

A partnership between Nova Credit, one of the world’s leading consumer-permission credit bureaus, and Vesti, an app that addresses barriers for Nigerians moving to the United States, has been announced.

Nova Credit will leverage its Credit Passport to help approve newcomers from Nigeria for the Vesti Card, which will enable them to build credit profiles in the United States a month after arriving. Read their press release here.

“Nova Credit and Vesti are both mission-driven fintechs working to accelerate financial inclusion for underserved communities. The partnership was a natural fit based on Vesti’s existing work for the Nigerian and broader immigrant population, and together the two companies can bring the two missions to life for the betterment of Nigerian immigrants”, explains Nova Credit. 

Fortunately, no onboarding is required – Nova Credit’s Credit Passport® is fully integrated with Vesti to meet users on the consumer journey. When prospective users go to the Vesti site to apply for a Vesti card, they are given information on Nova Credit; if they want to initiate the application, they opt-in to transfer their credit history through Nova Credit’s Credit Passport. 


Why is this needed?

This product must exist, explains Nova Credit.

“Since credit history does not migrate when we move, many people who move to the US cannot obtain consumer credit and have to start from scratch, even if they had a strong credit profile in their home country. This partnership was designed to help the more than 400,000 Nigerian-born immigrants in the US today, who face this same challenge when getting started with their financial journeys.”

Nova Credit has a colorful history in this sphere since it began in 2015. As part of an American Express initiative, Nova Credit teamed up with American Express in December 2021 to let newcomers apply for credit cards using their home country’s credit history.

American Express has seamlessly integrated the Credit Passport into the online card application process.

Already helping newcomers from Australia, Canada, India, and Mexico, it was expanded to Brazil, Dominican Republic, Kenya, and Nigeria. They also announced their expansion into Europe in April 2022. 

Nigerians in the United States 

A trend of rapid immigration from Nigeria to the US has developed over the past few years. Between 2010 and 2019, the number of Nigerians who immigrated to the US increased by 79%. It is estimated that there were 219,000 Nigerian immigrants in 2010 and 345,000 in 2017.

According to Migration Policy, the Nigerian community was the 29th largest immigrant group in the United States in 2015, and its members share some distinctive characteristics.

For instance, Nigerian Americans rank among the most educated groups in the US. Over 60% of Nigerians in the U.S. over 25 have a bachelor’s degree, and 17% are master’s degree holders.

Additionally, Nigerian immigrants are more likely to participate in the labor force because they speak English more readily at home than other foreign-born groups.

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Nigerian Flag

Impact on society

Nova Credit explains the broader impact on society: “For more than half of recent US immigrants, getting a credit card was a top priority upon arrival, just behind getting a place to live according to a survey data by Nova Credit. However, when activating this step, nearly half of surveyed immigrants cited getting a credit card as a service they had the most difficulty getting. This was a reality for most immigrants who, before Nova, arrived in a new country “credit invisible.”

“Local credit bureaus had no way of translating their international credit history, so these new arrivals were shut out of the financial system. Through partnerships with companies like Vesti, Nova Credit is working towards its vision to modernize the credit system and address the needs of nearly 300 million immigrants worldwide.” 

Long-term future for Nova Credit 

Looking at the future of immigration, Nova Credit has ambitious plans.

“It will no longer matter where you’re from or where you’re going. Over the past five years, the Nova team has worked to remove barriers to accessing financial services to make the financial system truly borderless. Today, nearly 70% of recent immigrants can import their international financial history directly into financial applications through Nova’s global infrastructure and network of global credit bureaus. This capability has globalized the world’s credit bureau system, and we will continue to see progress to make this process even more frictionless.” 

Nova Credit and Verizon also recently announced that newcomers to the U.S. would be able to securely share their international credit at their nearest Verizon store to apply for financing with Nova Credit’s Credit Passport solution.

According to a survey commissioned by Nova Credit, obtaining a phone service is one of the top priorities for immigrants entering the U.S. Still, until recently, newcomers have had to rely on bringing their devices or prepaid phone plans.

With this partnership, newcomers from eligible countries can use the credit history they’ve already built in their home country to finance a device for 0% interest with credit approval.

The company also partners with other financial services and tenant screening companies like American Express, MPOWER, SoFi, and Yardi.

  • Helen Femi Williams

    Helen Femi Williams is a freelance journalist and podcaster interested in fintech, politics, economics, and their intersections. She is the host of the letsgetlitical podcast, a fortnightly show interviewing guests from all different sides of the political spectrum, in partnership with the Mozilla Foundation. Prior to this role, she worked as an innovation consultant developing insurtech and fintech products and ideas for brands, startups, and major corporations. She studied International Relations at the University of Nottingham (UK and Malaysia).