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The Challenges of Online Payment in Nigeria

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Online payment

It is indeed quite disheartening that a country as huge as Nigeria is still largely shut out from the part of international commerce that will allow local online entrepreneurs and start-ups earn foreign exchange through the sale of their goods and services.

Let’s not deceive ourselves; the fact that Nigerians can now shop on amazon or alibaba using their debit cards does not in any way mean that we are participating in the game of e-Commerce internationally. What is happening, in my opinion, is that we are being fleeced by many of the international establishments.

So from Facebook to PayPal to Netflix to Uber; these international organisations are here to do business and nothing but business and with the way these types of transactions are structured, it is almost impossible for our largely analogue nation to get a dime as tax.

Can you imagine how much foreign exchange we are losing as a nation because of certain practices that government has allowed to thrive? Nigerians, for example, can make payment with a PayPal account that is tied to their debit cards and the same Nigerians are not allowed to receive money using PayPal accounts.

Let me give you a simple example; a young local freelancer who provides services online may earn an income but would not be able to receive cash easily because PayPal won’t allow it. In my personal experience, I have between $50 and $250 that I have earned as an affiliate marketer at one point or the other but as I write, these monies are more or less useless to me simply because I can’t use PayPal to receive money. I’ll not bore you with the process of how I try to receive my earnings locally which has also led to the loss of over $500 affiliate earnings.

This is one of the reasons why I am sort of happy about the mess our currency is in at the moment. It might get our government and policy makers to think outside the box and possibly take the possibility of earning foreign currency online more seriously.

It is a welcome development that a company like PayPal has opened up to Nigerians but after two years or so, Nigerians can’t still receive money on PayPal; how sad can that be? Government should as a matter of urgency start a process of lobbying these companies because the moment they allow honest Nigerians to receive money, we would immediately see the difference.

Let me re-echo what has now become a talking drum: “The fastest way to create jobs in our dear country is through Internet based jobs otherwise called digital jobs.”

At this point, it is great to commend growing Nigerian companies like Voguepay for the strides they are making which is geared towards making it possible for people to accept payments for products and services. I decided to mention them because I have used the service for a while and it is pretty easy for anyone to start receiving money through them.

This is quite commendable because after all is said and done, e-Commerce starts with the ability to make and receive payments online. I believe young companies like these need to be encouraged to grow because the more their user base increases the better they can become an effective replacement to the likes of PayPal. What do you think makes PayPal the defacto king of online payment? Basically, good infrastructure and huge user base that ensures billions are pushed across the platform daily.

Nigerians please let’s use the opportunity of our bad economic period to support our own.

However, I must state that there are a number of issues that must be dealt with by the Nigerian e-payment companies which include that fact fraud must be tackled and online security improved. This should go with massive enlightenment campaign that is necessary to build confidence and this is where partnership with the media is key.

Also, infrastructure that aids the growth of online payment has to be improved. Another critical challenge that needs to be tackled is the multiple steps that the customer goes through during payment. Each time I am using any local payment provider, I have to enter my card details every single time but PayPal as an example does not request for it a second time which cuts down the steps one has to go through.

Finally, I believe players in the financial tech ecosystem have to find a way to improve the process of reconciliation. The way things are at the moment, the banks are currently feeding fat in this whole arrangement to the detriment of start-ups. As a start-up, when a client pays you using any debit card in Nigeria; you don’t get it instantly. You must wait for x number of days before the reconciliation is done.

Some closing questions we’d need to ponder on are as follows: is it possible to solve the mystery of not having to re-enter your card details every time you want to make a payment? Can we change the Nigerian narrative that is closely linked with fraud? How can we improve service delivery? What happens if someone pays for a product and discovers it is defective? Will they get a refund? Is it enforceable?

The above questions are pointers to the fact that we need to strengthen institutions in our dear nation because this is what will build the confidence needed to develop Nigeria’s digital economy.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Telecommunications

Airtel Africa Receives $194 Million Loan Facility From IFC

Airtel Africa partners with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group to connect even more Africa

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Airtel Financial Results - Investors King

Africa’s leading telecommunications and mobile money services, Airtel Africa has signed a new $194 million credit facility with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a subsidiary of the World Bank.

According to the telecommunications giant, the new financing facility is in accordance with the company’s strategy to improve debt within its operating firms and support operations in key African markets.

The eight years tenor credit facility will help Airtel Africa support operations and investments in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger, Republic of Congo and Zambia.

Also, it would help provide more diversified access to local funding, the company stated in a statement signed by Simon O’Hara, Group Company Secretary and obtained by Investors King.

In line with IFC requirements for a loan facility, Airtel Africa is expected to deepen its Social and Environmental Sustainability and has put in place a dedicated Environmental and Social Action plan.

This, Airtel said would deepen its commitment to changing the lives of people in the communities in which it operates and provides clarity on how the Group can help address inequality and support economic growth in these communities.

Commenting on the facility, Segun Ogunsanya, Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa said: “I am very excited to announce the signing of this new facility with IFC. Not only does it align with our focus on improving our balance sheet through localising debt within our OpCos, but as we make progress on our sustainability journey it also supports our commitments and ability to meet strong ESG criteria. I look forward to working closely with IFC in the coming years as we explore further opportunities to support the economies and communities where we operate.”

On the part of IFC, Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Vice President for Africa, has this to say: “The COVID-19 pandemic has made mobile connectivity even more urgent for both social and economic development. Helping more people connect to affordable and fast internet networks is a priority for IFC in Africa, especially in the continent’s lower-income countries. The partnership with Airtel Africa will help achieve this.”

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Fund Raising

Property Tech Company, VENCO Secures $670,000 Pre-Seed Funding

The company stated that the fund will be deployed to scale its all-in-one technology platform

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Start-up - Investors King

Nigeria property technology company, VENCO has secured $670,000 in an oversubscribed pre-seed funding round.

The company stated that the fund will be deployed to scale its all-in-one technology platform that manages collections, service charge administration, utilities, and visitor access, among other services associated with multi-unit property developments across Africa.

Founded by Chude Osiegbu (CEO), Reagan Mbitiru (CTO), and Uzochukwu Alor (COO), VENCO already has a growing presence in both Nigeria and Kenya with the plan to expand to other cities and countries in Africa. 

The CEO, Chude Osiegbu stated that VENCO was used by 100 estates on about 4000 property units in 2021. He added that the startup is currently in 186 estates with about 12,000 property units and now has larger estates like Banana Island and 1004 in its roster.

Although Osiegbu noted that the company presently relies on subscription fees that it charges for the deployment of its software solution, he nevertheless stated that VENCO has a long-term plan to introduce a number of monetised operations.

He added that the startup already helped finance the purchase of prepaid energy meters for the Primewater View Gardens estate, and the Tejuosho Market, a shopping mall.

In the last 9 months, VENCO says it has recorded over 200 percent growth, currently in 6 cities in Nigeria and Kenya. 

Dating from the beginning of this year, VENCO noted that it has processed more than $10 million in transaction value via its platform. The company added that it is already in talks with e-commerce platforms to enable easier access to merchants within and around the community. 

Investors King learnt that some of the investors that participated in the pre-seed funding round include Zrosk Investment Management, Voltron Capital, Decimal Point Ventures, Fast Forward Fund, Tayo Oviosu (CEO of Paga), Odun Eweniyi (COO of Piggyvest), Oo Nwoye, Desigan Chinniah, Dakar Network Angels and Viktoria Business Angel Network.

Speaking at the event, Samson Esemuede, Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer at  Zrosk Investment Management, said, “ We view VENCO as both a SaaS and a financial inclusion play with a potential for strong multiplicative impact across the continent.”

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Fintech

Instant Payment Transactions to Surpass 376 Billion Globally by 2027

The number of instant payment transactions to grow by 289% globally exceed 376 billion globally by 2027; increasing from 97 billion in 2022

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NIBSS

A new study has found that the number of instant payment transactions will exceed 376 billion globally by 2027; increasing from 97 billion in 2022, a 289% growth.

The study predicts that an increased roll-out of instant cross-border payment schemes in multiple countries will drive this growth by enabling businesses and consumers to benefit from greater speed and efficiency.

This efficiency is gained by processing payments over instant payment rails, which provide time and cost savings, while also offering greater transparency over transactions to stakeholders than traditional payment rails.

An instant payment is any payment outside of a card network that is capable of receiving funds in 10 seconds or under.

Regulators to Play Key Role in Cross-border Instant Payments

The report forecasts that cross-border transactions will grow at a faster rate than domestic transactions globally. It anticipates that cross-border transactions will rise from 631 million payments globally in 2022 to over 6 billion in 2027. The creation of instant payment schemes by international bodies, such as the EU, and an increase of bilateral agreements between these bodies will be key drivers of growth over the next five years.

These bodies will be essential in creating cross-border instant payment networks, as they have the capital and influence to connect disparate payment schemes across different geographical regions in order to maximise the value proposition of instant payments. In turn, the report recommends that regulators increase partnerships with international bodies to broaden payment schemes and expand access to instant payment services.

Greater Efficiency to Drive Business Adoption

Additionally, the report predicts that the increased time and cost efficiencies, and the improved cashflow management of using instant payments will be primary factors in influencing businesses to adopt. This will contribute to the total value of instant payment transactions rising from $6 trillion this year, to $33 trillion in 2027.

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