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Stanbic get Nigeria m-payment nod

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Stanbic IBTC Bank, a member of Standard Bank Group, has been awarded a licence to provide mobile payment services in Nigeria.

Stanbic IBTC Bank, a member of Standard Bank Group, has been awarded a licence to provide mobile payment services in Nigeria. This development is believed will give further impetus to that country’s drive towards an increasingly cashless economy.

Stanbic IBTC is one of seven players fully licensed to operate mobile money services in Nigeria in accordance with the country’s Mobile Payments Regulatory Framework. The regulatory environment offers customers protection from unscrupulous vendor practices and facilitates easy communication with the bank.

The granting of the licence was in no small way due to some of the mobile- and other payments solutions developed by Standard Bank’s payments innovations hub Beyond Payments. These include the e.susu (BlueSave) petty trader solution as well as the pilot mobile payments platform Blue Cash.

e.susu is a formal and technology-driven version of the traditional ‚esusu’ savings model, which has been highly successful among banking traders, artisans, and lower income population groups in Lagos. Blue Cash offers person-to-person money transfers at designated agents or via a wallet across a broad spectrum of mobile phones and networks.

Sola David-Borha, CEO, Stanbic IBTC Bank, noted that Stanbic IBTC since 2009 has shown commitment to technology driven branchless banking under its retail banking division in Nigeria.

David-Borha stated that with the licence, the bank is well poised to deliver even greater value to stakeholders across the mobile money value chain. In so doing, the bank will leverage the experience and expertise of its parent company, Standard Bank Group, which operates mobile money services in various markets in Africa, including Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and South Africa.

The Standard Bank Group is the largest enabler in this segment powering billions in mobile money transfers on the continent every month. It is believed this license could easily exceed all the bank’s other solutions and countries combined.

‚We consider the licence as another platform and opportunity through which we can showcase our bank’s ability to help customers simplify their lives, using relevant technology to make available products and services targeted at their needs. We will be launching various mobile payments products and services designed to enhance financial inclusion in the country,‚ she stated.

Commenting on the payments award, Herman Singh, CEO of Beyond Payments, said: ‚We are extremely proud of the achievement. This was essentially the result of a three-year journey of close collaboration between the Central Bank of Nigeria, the customer, and the agent, and well as technical teams in both South Africa and Nigeria.

‚What pleases me most is that it demonstrates the fruit of both technology and business model innovation, which was developed for the unique local conditions that exist in Nigeria. The technical platform is identical to that implemented successfully in SPAR, Bankshops and soon SBSA ATM’s,‚ he added.

Some 70 million of Nigeria’s population of 158 million, own mobile phones. While only a small percentage of Nigerians possess bank accounts, they increasingly use mobile phones to go online.

Nigeria is one of the most populated countries in Africa and offers a huge market for basic financial services. The country has an economic size and growth potential that will allow it to surpass South Africa as the largest economy in Africa in the near future. However, as the country continues to urbanise and modernise, the need for both basic and increasingly sophisticated financial services is expected to show exponential growth.

‚In terms of the roll out of payments and financial services, Nigeria is hampered by the absence of a fixed infrastructure: from branches, ATMs and even point of sale devices,‚ Singh said.

‚The mobile phone will be the transacting device of choice given its proliferation, accessibility, affordability and its familiarity with most people. Thus, the award of the mobile payments licence to Stanbic IBTC is very significant,‚ said Singh.

‚Beyond Payments is proud to have been the supplier and operator of the payments platform that enabled this to happen,‚ he added.

Each of the mobile applications developed by Beyond Payments for Nigeria is governed by the country’s KYCAML (Know Your Customer Anti-Money Laundering) regulations and guidelines issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Ada Phil-Ugochukwu, head of financial inclusion at Stanbic IBTC Bank, stated that beyond its commercial potential, mobile payments have both social and economic benefits: promoting urban-to-rural remittances: savings and borrowing: allowing families to pursue economic initiatives, generate new streams of income, as well as accumulate small amounts of net worth.

‚Mobile money will definitely open new channels of delivery which will hugely reinforce the Central Bank of Nigeria’s quest to create a cashless economy in the country,‚ she noted.

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