Leading African digital payments company DPO Group has added a new form of payment that will allow merchants to get paid by their customers via a USSD code. This new feature allows merchants to receive payments from customers who don’t have access to mobile banking or a payment card.
Paired with DPO’s robust and scalable payment offering, USSD payments enable merchants to grow their customer base by accommodating as many payment methods as possible, getting paid from different shoppers across Africa. DPO has developed integrated payments technology to support businesses of all sizes in over 20 countries and accepts payments securely and swiftly in all currencies and through many payment methods including virtual cards, mobile money, and e-wallets.
DPO’s country manager in Nigeria, Chidinma Aroyewun, said: “As the shift to a cashless, digital economy becomes a reality, we want to make it easier for both the customer and merchant to carry out transactions. We are passionate about empowering our merchants with the tools they need to grow.”
DPO Group currently works with over 60,000 active merchants, including businesses in the eCommerce, travel, and leisure sectors. The company was founded in 2006 and since then it has grown to be a Pan-African PSP with more than 400 employees.
A total of 336.5 million USSD transactions were recorded in the first nine months of 2020 in Nigeria. In December 2020, the value of USSD transfer payments in Nigeria amounted to over 550 billion Naira.
Mobile Network Providers Set to Drive Financial Inclusion in Nigeria
The global development of Financial Technology (FinTech) has necessitated mobile network providers to drive financial inclusion in Nigeria.
The incursion of telecommunication companies into the financial services space has been a laudable development for stakeholders in the technology sector. A large number of them believe that these telecommunication companies have what it takes to bank the unbanked across the country.
Investors King gathered that two of the largest mobile networks in Nigeria, during the past week, commenced the operation of their Payment Services.
MTN, in its official statement, revealed that Nigerians will enjoy easy to use, accessible, and affordable financial services through its MoMo wallet.
On the same day, Airtel Africa also announced that it will roll out the full operation of its PSB SmartCash.
Airtel Group Chief Executive Officer, Segun Ogunsanya assured that SmartCash will help further digitise the economy and most importantly, help bank the unbanked by reaching the millions of Nigerians who do not currently have access to financial services by delivering current and savings accounts, payment and remittance services, debit and prepayment cards and more sophisticated services.
“SmartCash Payment Service Bank Limited (‘SmartCash PSB’) Services will initially be available at selected retail touchpoints, and operations will be expanded gradually across the country over the next few months,” Ogunsanya said.
What the CBN wants
The Central Bank of Nigeria has since, within the past years, intensified its commitment to ensuring a satisfactory financial inclusion rate in Nigeria. The apex bank released a supervisory framework for the operation of these payment service banks.
In 2018, CBN introduced a new type of banking license,the Payment Service Banks (PSBs), with the aim of leveraging the strengths of businesses such as mobile network operators while maintaining a bank-led rather than a telecoms-led banking model.
“The Payment Service Banks are expected to leverage on technology to provide services that would be easily accessed by the unbanked population and those who are in hard-to-reach areas of the country,” CBN said.
It is expected that through this development, Nigeria should attain the desirable height in terms of financial inclusion.
Currently, according to the data obtained by Investors King from Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA), over four million (4,682,492) Nigerians have been financially included through its funded grant projects, including 2 million women.
Recall that the overall financial inclusion target was 80 percent by 2020, while adult Nigerians with access to payment services was to increase from 21.6 percent in 2010 to 70 per cent in 2020.
However, by the end of 2020, EFInA data shows that only 64 per cent of Nigerian adults were financially included, a report said.
This means that 36 per cent of Nigerian adults, or 38 million adults, remained completely financially excluded as at 2020.
According to the Apex Bank, the key objective of issuing PSB licenses is to boost financial inclusion especially in rural areas and facilitate transactions.
What Financial Inclusion means to Nigerians
Financial inclusion means that people have access to basic financial services like a savings account, credit and insurance. A higher exclusion rate in Nigeria could lead to a poorer population as lack of access to credit and insurance puts them at an economic disadvantage.
Financial inclusion is a strong lever for bridging income inequality, combating poverty and preserving social harmony. The CBN has accordingly been at the forefront of the efforts to drive financial inclusion in Nigeria by championing the development & implementation of Nigeria’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy led by the CBN Governor.
The Deputy Governor and Chair of the Financial Inclusion Technical Committee, had once said that the next phase of financial inclusion in Nigeria is to bank the unbanked women, bridging the inequalities in the sector.
Despite progress achieved to date, critical groups remained excluded, including women, rural dwellers and citizens in the northern area. To address the issue with women, CBN launched a Framework for Advancing Women’s Financial Inclusion in Nigeria in 2020.
The CBN is also leading the industry to implement the framework, which is expected to lead to significant increase in women financial inclusion in Nigeria.
By all indications, there is no certainty of meeting the 2020 financial inclusion targets until around 2030.
However, Nigeria can build on this initial progress and drive faster financial inclusion growth through digital financial services like mobile money, by creating an open and level playing field for a wide range of providers, creating the right environment for fintech to thrive, and encouraging partnerships between different providers.
Mastercard And OPay Announce Partenership Deal
Fintech giants, Mastercard and Opay have announced a partnership deal to foster a global payment ecosystem to boost digital commerce in Middle East Africa and Africa at large.
This comes on the heels of the partnership deal Mastercard signed with Coinbase a couple of months ago to enable payments in the NFT marketplace.
Investors King gathered that the partnership with Mastercard is to simplify users’ experience in the NFT marketplace by allowing millions of people access the Coinbase to mint, purchase, showcase, and discover NFTs. Mastercard has said all the NFT-related transactions would be classified as ‘digital goods’.
This collaboration is the latest step in Mastercard’s emerging market strategy, which involves the technology company collaborating with fast-growing Fintechs like OPay to broaden access to digital transactions, encourage a variety of leisure amenities, develop new financial inclusion trajectories, and endorse the next formation of apps.
Customers are actively asking for a single platform that allows them to do numerous daily tasks more easily, such as sending and receiving money, ordering meals and groceries, scheduling transportation, lending, investing, and putting products for sale.
Customers of OPay will be able to pay on worldwide web platforms using Mastercard’s secure virtual payment system, which is linked to the OPay wallet.
With or without a bank account, OPay customers will benefit from a superior digital experience for a variety of lifestyle services and new digital commerce options.
In addition to enabling digital commerce, the two companies will collaborate to develop solutions that will position OPay at the forefront of financial services in the areas they serve.
Executive Vice President for Market Development, Mastercard EEMEA, Amnah Ajmal, said: “At Mastercard, our innovation strategy is rooted in partnerships to support inclusion at scale. Our partnership with OPay demonstrates our commitment to supporting payments providers across the world to create an interconnected global payments ecosystem that benefits an array of consumers with unique needs.”
CEO of OPay, Yahui Zhou, said: “As the leading fintech in the Middle East and Africa, we are delighted to be partnering with Mastercard as we continue on our journey to promote financial inclusion, helping to open up the global economy to more consumers and businesses across Middle East and Africa.”
Skaleet and Mobiblanc Announce Partnership for a Cutting-edge Technology to Serve Banks Across Africa
Skaleet, an international fintech providing a next-generation Core Banking Platform (CBP), has partnered today with Mobiblanc, an Agile Digital Services Entreprise (ESN), to offer turnkey solutions to financial institutions across Africa. The partnership will ensure that financial institutions have the capacities to launch new digital and innovative financial solutions that they can provide to their customers, whether businesses or individuals.
Mobiblanc, based in Morocco and Tunisia, is a leading player in North and West African markets entirely devoted to digital solutions. With a talented and dynamic team, Mobiblanc delivers an efficient and effective consulting and integration service for a wide range of clients.
Skaleet enables retail banks and financial institutions to launch new banking products and services for their customers at a competitive price. Through its open, modular, and flexible Core banking Platform, Skaleet offers innovative and scalable banking solutions that are built end-to-end and tailored to each customer.
The digital marketplace is continually, and rapidly, developing and evolving and the partnership between Skaleet and Mobiblanc enables financial institutions to ensure clients stay at the forefront with innovative and cutting-edge technology. Providing the best service and advice to clients, Skaleet and Mobiblanc are able to respond quickly to the digital evolution of banking and financial services with innovative and agile solutions that are competitively priced.
Yves Eonnet, chairman and co-founder of Skaleet said, “Today, it is essential for financial institutions to be able to innovate quickly and adapt to change. The ecosystem we have built relies on expert partners who are aware of this challenge and can find solutions. We quickly saw a cultural, technological and business fit between our two organizations and are delighted to have partnered with Mobiblanc. The partnership will enable us to further expand our offering and add value to our customers across Africa.”
Youssef El Alaoui, co-founder of Mobiblanc, added, “This partnership confirms our strategic orientation to support the digital transformation of the financial sector. We share the ambition with Skaleet to offer integration of innovative solutions with cutting-edge, technological expertise in order to bring added value to our partners and respond to the new business requirement of the sector.”
Both Skaleet and Mobiblanc are committed to continue innovating and creating new modules and functionalities to reshape the banking and financial ecosystem in favour of a formal, inclusive and sustainable development of the African continent.
Skaleet and Mobiblanc will participate at Africa Pay & ID Expo 2022 (APIDE), 26-28 May 2022, Marrakech, Morocco.
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