In a bid to reach the unbanked population in the country, the Electronic Payment Providers Association of Nigeria, E-PPAN, has announced plans for mobile payment as a solution to this challenge.
This was disclosed in an interview with the Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Electronic Payment Providers Association of Nigeria (E-PPAN), Mrs. Onajite Regha, she said it is worrisome that a significant proportion of the population still remains unbanked as it bothers the Electronic Payment Providers Association.
Regha said that certainly, the Nigeria e-payment industry has recorded a significant growth especially in 2015 as It was a highly competitive market so providers are introducing new innovations, new market strategies and improved service delivery among other things to capture the market.
According to her, “I can categorically say that there has been major improvement in the general index of electronic transactions in Nigeria compared to the previous years. People are becoming more comfortable and are therefore using the channels more.
“But as you know we still have a lot to do. A significant proportion of the population still remains unbanked and that is a worry for us at the Electronic Payment Providers Association. We have penciled down mobile payment as a solution to this challenge but we have not seen the impact we crave yet.
“2015 has been a rather languorous year, with the elections and the change of government, naturally things were a bit slow in the year, but as we begin to understand the policies of the new government better then investors will begin to align strategies and introduce more aggressive marketing and this will yield better results in 2016.
“The President Buhari’s administration is preaching anti-corruption, transparency and accountability. When we talk of payments there is no better way to achieve these ideals better than using electronic payment.”
Speaking on ways to tackle electronic fraud, the E-PPAN boss stated that globally, electronic fraud is a major challenge because criminals follow the money.
“So now that money has moved online, we find criminals are there. But the fact is that industry stakeholders are not relenting and saying “Oh It is a global trend”.
“No we are committed to a safer payment system in Nigeria. We understand that payment is the nerve center of the economy and we are ready to protect our turf.
In the industry we have realized that fraud is not a basis for competition.
“We can compete on several other areas but certainly not on fraud. So we have seen increased collaborations within the industry in recent times. The industry has come up with many joint projects all to protect our users and the system. Funny enough, the fraudsters work together.
“They are organised. So if we have to check them we have to be organized. You know technology evolves very fast and these fraudsters are usually very current with trends, payment providers are also trying to keep up with this speed to ensure that our systems are safe.
“Recently, there have been so many initiatives to mitigate and control the incidences of electronic fraud in Nigeria, amongst other things. The Chip and PIN was introduced by the CBN to eliminate the weaknesses of the mag stripe cards.
“The CBN also mandated the Two Factor Authentication for Internal Banking Process. Recently there was a circular on Card Present Fraud In Non-EMV environment. The Operations of Instant Payments was also reviewed.
“The Nigeria electronic Fraud Forum (NEFF) has not rested on its oars since its formation. In 2015 NeFF recorded a lot of successes including commitments from the Chief Justice of Nigeria and the Inspector General of Police.
“The IG in his response to one of the prayers of NeFF set up Dedicated Payment and Card Crime Unit (DPCCU). Also all banks now have a 24 hours fraud desk. The BVN project is a major achievement and very soon we will all begin to enjoy the benefits of the BVN. The industry is also on the verge of establishing a Banking Risk Information Centre.”
“Like I explained earlier there is no other route to take. Let me put it this way. There are three steps in achieving safe payments. Step 1 is collaboration; step 2 is collaboration; and step 3 is collaboration. Fraud is not an issue for competition. Given the importance of providing secure payment systems whilst ensuring public confidence in electronic means of payment, the role of proactive fraud management cannot be over-emphasized.
“The collaborative effort among stakeholders in the industry has always been the major advocacy of E-PPAN. No organisation can achieve or single handedly defeat the magnitude of threat posed by electronic fraudsters. There is need to team up with the regulatory agencies, the law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and every single stakeholder in the payment chain.”
She however said that E-PPAN will continue to advocate for information sharing among the industry players, as this will go a long way to compliment the ongoing efforts of the regulatory agencies in the industry.