President, sub-Saharan Africa for Visa, Mr. Andrew Torre, and Senior Vice President in charge of digital solutions, Mr. Uttam Nayak

President, sub-Saharan Africa for Visa, Mr. Andrew Torre, and Senior Vice President in charge of digital solutions, Mr. Uttam Nayak, spoke with journalists on Visa’s partnership with some banks to boost online transactions. Emma Okonji brings the excerpts:

 

Visa has announced fresh plans to enhance online financial transactions in Nigeria, using the mVisa digital solution. What is unique about the solution?

Visa is global payments solution provider, and we have partnered some Nigerian banks to launched mVisa, an innovative mobile payment service, in Nigeria. The solution is currently being rolled out across Africa. The solution will enable bank customers to enjoy easy and secure payments and merchants will also benefit from it, as it helps to reduce cost and friction for accepting electronic payments. With mVisa, consumers from Visa’s Nigerian partner banks can pay with any mobile phone wherever mVisa is accepted. mVisa transactions are processed via Visa’s global network, VisaNet, applying the same scale, security and reliability as any other Visa transaction.

How many banks have signed up with the mVisa digital solution?

The banks that have already hooked on to the mVisa platform are Diamond Bank, Fidelity Bank and First Bank. But other bank like Access Bank, Ecobank, United Bank for Africa and Zenith Bank, have concluded deal with Visa to go live with mVisa in the coming weeks. With the digital solution, Nigeria will become the first market to provide customers the convenience of making cross-border payments using mVisa.

What are the benefits of the new digital platform to small businesses?

Small and medium merchants in particular, will no longer have to invest in expensive point of sale infrastructure as mVisa gives them the freedom to accept payments in a convenient, secure and affordable manner that their customers trust.

We are very excited to see more and more merchants come on board every day as they begin to understand the benefits that mVisa brings, including real-time notifications of payments and access to sales and transactions history. We have campaigns lined up for the coming months to support our merchants and encourage new customers to experience mVisa at various locations across Nigeria.

 

How will the mVisa solution enhance eCommerce business in Nigeria?

Let me start by saying that before now, customers used the 16 digit numbers of their bank card to do transactions, but with mVisa, the sane customers can take a picture of it and complete the online transactions. Basically, the solution is an enabler of e-commerce. There are several factors limiting the unbanked in Nigeria, which include bank locations and the processes involved in banking. But the mVisa solution guarantees faster access. Diamond, Fidelity and First banks, which have signed on the platform, will offer their customers the convenience of mVisa through their mobile banking apps. Access Bank, Ecobank, United Bank for Africa, and Zenith Bank, will go live with mVisa in the coming weeks. Nigeria is the first market to provide

customers the convenience of making cross-border payments using mVisa.

Is this solution peculiar to the Nigerian market?

The solution is not peculiar to the Nigerian market, but it is best in Nigeria, designed to enhance online transactions across existing banking apps. We have launched in India, Rwanda, Egypt, and Kenya. We have to get to sub-Saharan Africa as it is a massive market and to effectively service the sub-Saharan Africa market, we believe that Nigeria is crucial, because banks in Nigeria are sophisticated, and they all display banking applications that integrate these solutions on the  fast lane.

Who are the targets markets for this solution in the country? 

Small and medium merchants are part of our target audience, as they will no longer have to invest in expensive point of sale infrastructure, since mVisa gives them the freedom to accept payments in a convenient, secure and affordable manner that their customers trust. We expect to see more and more merchants come on board every day as they begin to understand the benefits that mVisa brings, including real-time notifications of payments and access to sales and transactions history. We have campaigns lined up for the coming months to support our merchants and encourage new customers to experience mVisa at various locations across Nigeria.

Today, Visa and its financial institution partners are, for the first time, providing the benefits of digital commerce to potentially everyone, everywhere across Nigeria and the African continent, bringing millions more people into the formal financial system.

What must have motivated Visa in creating this solution?

Our plan is to have everyone digitised, both consumers and merchants. So, we see mVisa really changing that by allowing anyone to be a merchant with a simple QR code and with the solution, banks can get people enrolled into their mobile banking platform.

The way VISA works is through our clients, we can reach everyone across different areas. We do not physically reach out to consumers, or merchants, but we have since realised that it is so much better to partner with industry stakeholders, especially the banks. They already employ the services of the 16 digit card numbers, but we see things changing fast with mVisa. All that is needed is for partners to enable it on their mobile banking platform and

transactions are rolled out.

How important is this platform to the Nigerian market considering the fact that when there are challenges, most other companies will back out?

We have been in Africa for decades. We are long term investors. Africa is important to us and more so, Nigeria as the largest economy in Africa. If you look at what we have done this year, which include opening of new office, employing new staff and even doubled it. We have brought in more technical

experts, more marketing people, and we think it is a great time to invest. We offer technological solutions that are immensely beneficial. We have been here for 20 years; we will be here for more years.

We stay strong even when the chips are down. For instance, India went into demonetisation six months ago, knocked out 86 per cent of the currency. They asked us to come back with products, which we did. So, when things are down with the government, paying with digital cards help to reduce cost, puts more money into the banking system, and this enables more productivity. The Nigerian government has been talking about cashless policy, so, we believe we have aligned with the government focus with this new solution.

What are the security measures put in place to secure the platform? 

The security of the solution is a combination of what the banks apply on their mobile platform and what we offer too. Just as you authenticate yourself, it will lay out on the other ends also.