By Martin Ekpeke
In the last two decades, Nigeria’s rapidly growing digital payment ecosystem has witnessed the birth of a wide array of innovations, introducing several payment platforms that have truly given the power of a king to the consumers, spurring growth and economic prosperity for all citizens.
Today, with such innovations, banks, fintechs, micro-finance banks, telcos and other financial institutions are deploying financial products which speak to the needs of customers, who, from the comfort of their homes and offices, are making financial transactions without the hassles of queuing in a bank or using physical cash.
Recent figures quoted by the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy Directorate, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Kingsley Obiora, showed that Nigeria’s digital payments space has grown from around $324 billion in 2008 to $2.4 trillion presently.
Nigeria is posited to be building one of the best payment systems in the world. Evident is the increase in digital payments, which we have seen grow from around $324 billion in 2008 to about $2.4 trillion in 2022. With the growing number of fintech companies coming onboard every year, Nigerians are increasingly adopting digital payment methods.
Also, in its latest figures, the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) disclosed that electronic transactions performed in Nigeria between January and July this year, through the NIBSS instant payment platform (NIP), are worth N204.5 trillion.
NIBSS noted that Nigeria was among the African countries that recorded the highest digital payments in the same period with 35 percent of e-commerce payments occurring by card, while 21 percent was done through bank transfer.
All thanks to pioneer electronic payment platforms like Interswitch, which has shown resilience in the face of daunting challenges facing the ecosystem. Today, Interswitch can be said to be Africa’s leading integrated digital payment and e-commerce company. The company has shown commitment to deepening and stimulating the growth of digital payment in Nigeria and beyond.
Interswitch has continued to show leadership, creating cutting-edge innovations and infrastructure that other digital platforms, including traditional banks, are riding on. This year alone, the technology giant has launched several solutions, including five that were launched in April to support the evolving fintech ecosystem.
The five solutions are Biometric Authentication Solution, Card Fusion, Secure Tokenisation, Quickteller Business, and Smart PoS, which it believes will boost the payment industry in Africa and provide more secure payment solutions to financial institutions, small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs), merchants and their customers. Ultimately, the idea behind these solutions is to address digital payment fraud, problems with card issuance and portfolio management.
Also, in its resolve to strengthen the digital payment ecosystem and position Nigeria as a force to reckon with on the global payment landscape, Interswitch, at its recent TechConnect 2.0 event themed ‘Collaborating for Industry Growth and Profitability’, sought collaborations with other stakeholders towards having an enduring and blossoming digital payment ecosystem.
Interswitch reached the resolve that designing innovative financial products is the way to go to consolidate its position.
Therefore, even more recently, the company unveiled another set of nine products designed to address prevailing issues within the payment ecosystem, enhance business development and boost customer experience.
The products include Fintech-in-a-box; Interswitch-Security-as-a-Service; Banking-as-a-Service; Payment-as-a- Service; Interswitch Security-as-a-Service; Mobile Banking-as-a-Service; Biometrics on POS; Tokenisation and Value financing.
According to Interswitch, the products will help to improve the digital payment solutions that financial institutions offer to their customers.
“The essence of these products is to protect customers against digital payment fraud, provide effective value financing tools for lenders, give seamless integration to payment channels and enhance customer experience,” Akeem Lawal, Managing Director, Payment Processing & Switching (Interswitch Purepay), said while announcing the products at the TechConnect 2.0 event.
Lawal argued that the payment industry must collaborate to provide opportunities to co-create solutions that make digital payment safer and further drive profitability. This collaboration, he noted, is part of Interswitch’s commitment to continuously driving financial inclusion through its innovative products and solutions.
A check on the nine products launched by Interswitch shows a reaffirmation of the company’s continued drive to improve Nigeria’s digital payments landscape through innovation and the development of world-class solutions and infrastructure that address pressing needs in the payment ecosystem.
Interswitch believes in partnerships that will not only simplify payments but also drive prosperity across the African continent. It also believes in creating an enabling environment where new entrants can thrive and compete healthily. This has been done by deploying the much-needed infrastructure that powers the digital space in Nigeria.
The Nigerian e-payments industry needs more innovative solutions that can protect it, given the fact that it is poised for further growth, as alternative payment channels continue to evolve almost daily.