In Nigeria, more than a million banking agents who have embraced Point of Sale (PoS) terminals provided by operators like OPay, PalmPay, and Moniepoint are facing challenges due to the rising cost of operations.
As a result, these agents have made the decision to increase PoS charges in Lagos, with other states such as Ogun, Edo, and Oyo following suit. Victor Olojo, the president of the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN), confirmed the price adjustments.
The recent increase in PoS charges can be attributed to the removal of petrol subsidies and the floating of the naira, which has led to skyrocketing prices of goods and services across the country.
Also, transportation costs have reached record highs in almost all Nigerian cities while for banking agents, particularly those residing in rural communities with limited access to banks, transportation is a critical cost component.
With only 5,000 branches spread across Nigeria’s 33 licensed commercial banks, most of which are concentrated in cities like Lagos, many locations, especially in remote areas, lack access to banking services. In certain regions, such as Kano, over 20 local governments do not have any bank branches at all.
This situation forces banking agents to travel long distances, sometimes up to 100 kilometers, to obtain cash for their businesses. The convenience offered by mobile money agents mitigates this cost for customers who would otherwise have to visit a bank or ATM, making it an essential service.
Apart from transportation costs, banking agents are also burdened by terminal fees. Operators like OPay and Moniepoint recently raised their terminal charges to account for the impact of rising inflation on their operations. As a result, the fee for a N10,000 transaction increased from N50 to N60. Consequently, an agent charging N200 for this type of transaction would earn N140.
OPay currently boasts the largest network of agents, with 563,262, followed by PalmPay with 500,000 agents and Moniepoint with 322,266 agents.
These operators have gained traction by providing terminals and reliable service support, ensuring smooth transactions. PalmPay even allows agents to facilitate withdrawals through their agent app, eliminating the need for a PoS. This feature is particularly appealing to customers who are comfortable using mobile apps and prefer a faster and more convenient method of withdrawing funds.
Moniepoint has also adopted an agent network model, leveraging the potential of agency networks and categorizing agents into different tiers. This approach has facilitated rapid growth in the number of agents, eliminating the need for field staff.
Augustina Alabere, an agent with OPay, highlighted the increasing cost of PoS paper as a significant concern, as the price has risen from N1,200 for a roll of 10 to N2,000.
She also mentioned rising shop rents as a pressure point on her revenue, as landlords adjust rates to combat inflation.
London Fintech Owner Faces Extradition to Belgium Over Alleged Money Laundering for Drug Traffickers
A London-based fintech owner accused of aiding drug traffickers in laundering hundreds of millions of euros through a cryptocurrency exchange platform must be extradited to Belgium to face criminal charges, a London judge ruled.
Caio Marchesani, the owner of Trans-Fast Remittance, a payments business regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, is alleged to have facilitated the hoarding of significant amounts of cash for Sergio Roberto De Carvalho, a Brazilian previously described by Interpol as one of the world’s most wanted kingpins before his arrest in 2022.
Marchesani is also accused by prosecutors of managing cryptocurrency accounts for Flor Bressers, a Belgian national known as the “finger cutter.”
Marchesani, who was apprehended at Heathrow Airport in May, has seven days to appeal against the extradition order, according to the London judge’s decision on Tuesday.
Following the ruling, both Marchesani’s lawyer and the prosecution declined to comment.
In a statement filed in court last month, Marchesani maintained his innocence, stating, “I have not been involved in money laundering the proceeds of drug sales for the alleged organized criminal group.”
His legal representatives at Mishcon de Reya had previously argued that the prosecution’s case contained “false, vague, ambiguous, or inaccurate particulars.” They emphasized that none of the allegations against Marchesani were related to his business interests in the UK.
The efforts to extradite Marchesani are part of a broader investigation that began three years ago after the Dutch government seized more than 12 tonnes of cocaine, valued at over €260 million ($278 million), at Europe’s busiest port, Rotterdam. Authorities traced the seized drugs back to Bressers and De Carvalho, eventually focusing on Marchesani after a breakthrough in decoding encrypted communications.
Prosecutors acting on behalf of Belgian authorities alleged, “He is a shadow banker who receives money, either in cash, cryptocurrency, or both, and moves it around at the will of the criminal organization to disguise its origins,” during an earlier hearing.
A trial involving 30 defendants in the case, including Bressers, commenced in Belgium earlier this month but was immediately postponed, as reported by local press outlets.
A pre-recorded message from Trans-Fast Remittance stated that their payment service is currently offline but aims to resume services soon. Companies House filings from August indicate that another owner has been added to the registry.
Flutterwave, Africa’s Leading Payments Technology Company, Celebrates the Success of its Graduate Trainee Program
Flutterwave, the foremost payments technology company in Africa, proudly announced yesterday that it has successfully onboarded nearly 85 percent of its 200 Graduate Trainees following a year of intensive training.
In a recent statement, the company emphasized its unwavering commitment to nurturing young talent while maintaining its reputation as an exceptional workplace that fosters career growth opportunities in the technology sector.
Launched in August 2022, the Flutterwave Graduate Trainee Program was a 12-month-long paid initiative tailored for recent graduates with limited or no prior work experience but boundless aspirations.
The program’s primary objective was to establish a network of emerging talent, equipping them with both technical and soft skills, along with practical experience, through engagement with a global organization boasting over 750 employees worldwide.
The program’s adaptability, including accommodating the unique needs of recent graduates, such as aligning with their National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) obligations, underscores Flutterwave’s commitment to its customers, young talent, and the community.
Speaking on the successful culmination of the program and the abundant growth opportunities available to employees at Flutterwave, Mansi Babyloni, Flutterwave’s Global Chief People Officer, said, “We are excited to have fulfilled our mission of providing 200 exceptionally bright young graduates with the opportunity to learn on the job and kick-start their careers in the tech industry early in life. As 170 of them transition from Graduate Trainees to full-time employees after completing 12 months of on-the-job training and shadowing, a world of opportunities awaits them. I am thrilled that they can now navigate their career paths within our newly launched career progress framework, which epitomizes boundless potential. Today, they hold roles as Analysts and Engineer 1s; tomorrow, they could be VPs and CXOs. At Flutterwave, anything is possible. I extend my best wishes to all 200 Graduate Trainees, even those who have pursued other opportunities; the world is your oyster!”
Bode Abifarin, Chief Operating Officer at Flutterwave, said, “We’re thankful for the successful completion of the Flutterwave Graduate Trainee Program. We thank the People Team and all the Graduate Trainee Managers that helped coach, mentor and train our GTs to propel their growth into Analysts and Engineer 1s. This is in line with our mission to create endless possibilities for all; truly, their careers have taken off and there’s no limit to what they can achieve going forward.”
MoneyMaster Payment Service Bank Offers 8.0% Annual Interest Rate to G-Kala Savers
MoneyMaster Payment Service Bank (MMPSB), established by Globacom, is set to elevate the experience of its G-Kala savings account holders by introducing an enticing 8.0 percent annual interest rate on their savings accounts with the bank.
This innovative initiative is aimed at cultivating a culture of saving among both new and existing customers of the bank, thereby promoting financial inclusion across the nation.
In a statement released by the bank in Lagos, it was disclosed that “both new and existing G-Kala savings account holders will benefit from an 8.0 percent interest rate per annum on all deposits made into their G-Kala savings account.”
However, customers are advised that “no more than three withdrawals are allowed per month to qualify for the interest, which will be calculated and credited monthly,” the statement emphasized.
This bold move is intended to encourage the adoption of cashless banking, making it accessible to potential customers who can effortlessly open an account via the bank’s website for a seamless and convenient experience.
“This presents an exciting opportunity for everyone to open a G-Kala account with MoneyMaster PSB, deposit funds into the wallet, and enjoy an 8.0 percent interest rate per annum,” the statement continued.
The bank underscored that G-Kala is a tailor-made product designed to cater to customers who may not have easy access to traditional banks or who belong to the unbanked population.
“G-Kala brings the benefits of banking directly to their mobile phones through USSD, eliminating the need for an internet connection. It empowers them to deposit, withdraw money, transfer funds to other banks, purchase airtime, and pay bills such as electricity, water, DSTV, and more.
“This innovative service offers a convenient and secure alternative for banking transactions, available anytime and anywhere, operating in real time. It’s not only safer and faster but also more convenient and cost-effective compared to traditional money transfer services.”
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