New Force in Fintech Space

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Oluchi Chibuzor writes on the growing influence of financial technology companies

Fintech is the future of payment and to some, that future is already here. In a world extensively characterised bytechnological evolutions across all spheres of human lives, social, economic, political, business, among others, it is unsurprising that these pervasive technological evolutions, have slowly but surely crept their way into the fintech space in Nigeria.

Fintech, a fusion of finance and technology, is in lay man terms, the use of technology to deliver financial services and products to consumers. Although a relatively novel word, fintech is by no way a novel concept, as technology has always been a defining factor in the evolution of finance. And if you factor in the prevalence of smartphones and tablets, you would understand the accelerated speed in this development.

In Nigeria, fintech is a rapidly growing industry as multitudes of the population are increasingly reaping the benefits of sending and receiving money without necessarily having a bank account. Nigeria particularly is home to some well-grounded Fintech establishments such as Interswitch, Flutterwave, e-Tranzact, Unified Payments, just to mention a few.

However, there is still a growing concern in the rate of financial exclusion in Nigeria.
According to a report by EFInA in 2018, 36 per cent of Nigeria’s adult population are financially excluded, and although that figure is an improvement on the 2016 figures which put financially excluded Nigerians at 41.6 per cent, the desire to drive financial inclusion has led to the establishment of myriads of fintech services in Nigeria. And though within their ambits, these start-ups have all contributed in no small measure to the financial inclusion drive, one of these new start-ups standout in a rather outstanding fashion; Xpress Payments.

In what has become a battlefield to pique, sustain and satisfy the financial interests of consumers, Xpress Payments Solutions Nigeria Limited is surely holding its own in the ever increasing fintech space.

Standing on an Easy, Fast and Secure tripod of transactional operations, firmly rested on a mission and vison that speaks to ideals; the organisation aims to simplify and enable smarter living, a task they are well on course for.
Incorporated in 2016 as a private company limited by shares, an Authorised Share Capital base of N5 billion issued and fully paid up, as well as an asset base of N6 billion, the firm is a financial technology company that specialises in the design, implementation and provision of electronic payment solutions.

Licenced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the company offers services including but not limited to Payment Solution Service Provider, Transaction Switching and Third-PartyProcessing, Payment Terminal Service Provider with notable clients and partners as well as a platform that provides financial/banking services to customers where there are no sufficient initiatives or capacity to establish formal branches- Agency Banking.

Also, Xpress Payments comes in with a rather unique understanding of the needs of the customers, which underlies her customer targets – youth and millennials.

The commitment to further drive financial inclusion prompted Xpress Payments Solutions to its tentacles of services, with a functional VAS platform, a Collections Platform (e-cashier), a Funds Disbursement Platform(XpressPayout), Account Balance View Platform(XpressView) and the Agency Banking Initiative (Xpress Agent), designed particularly to widen the scope of Financial Inclusion in Nigeria.

Beyond these, the company boasts of sound partnership with heavy weights in the Banking Industry; Access Bank Nigeria Limited, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, United Bank for Africa Plc, Zenith Bank Plc among a host of others.
Though relatively young in an already saturated and increasingly competitive industry, Xpress Payments are already making some achievements in their strides.
Notable among these is in Delta state, where the state internally generated revenue needed a system that could secure, restructure and manage their funds.

The solution to this was found in one of Xpress Payment’s products, e-Cashier- amulti-account and multi-bank collection platform designed to enable public and private clients collect and pay funds. In the end the organisation succeeded in helping Delta State realise an increase in the state revenue allocation, reduce revenue leakages on the state collections.

In a similar vein, Xpress Payment also provided solutions in Ogun and Oyo States. In the former, it did so with the deployment of a Revenue Monitoring and Collection Platforms for Ogun State Internally Generated Revenue and State-owned Tertiary Institutions using various channels.

While in Oyo State, it employed an effective collection platform, provision of POS and a fund disbursement platform.
Another remarkable feat worthy of mention is Xpress Payments’ Commencement of PTSP Operations in Nigeria, and how in a short space of three years, are remarkably ranked 6th in transaction value as per monthly ranking by NIBSS out of 20other players.

Currently managing POS terminals for 16 merchant acquirers, Xpress Payments also boasts of a robust, flexible and scalable transaction switching and processing platform which is designed as an open development platform, with a broader spectrum of transaction processing and retail banking task automation, to meet the contemporary payment challenges such as mobile payment, prepaid card customization, payment with use of tokens such as account, card, code etc.

Perhaps the most obvious question is how a supposed start-up would flourish in an already saturated Fintech Industry in Nigeria.
But the Managing Director/C. E. O of Xpress Payments, Oluwadare Owolabi, in his response said, “at the inception, few things were at the very core of our objectives; the solutions we brought to bear, which are quite essential in the consumer domain, we equally gave a careful thought to products and services that are not rendered by our competitors, which gave us an insightful edge into the minds and needs of the consumers.

“A fitting example would be one of our products; e-cashier; this product was developed to enable public and private clients collect and pay funds, monitor what was collected from the desk of the merchant and sweep to a designated account.
“Also, a detailed study of the challenges fazing the customers has been at the forefront of our concerns at Xpress Payments.
“The outcome of this study has prompted the establishment of a Reconciliation and Settlement Platform, which has birthed a formidable team of human and technological resources, all geared towards making reconciliation and settlement relatively easy for our customers.”
Owolabi added: “It is our mandate to provide top notch services to our customers. Hence, in every product that we’ve built at XpressPayments, we ensure the availability of certain elements; customer service, close customer interaction, quality services and products, to mention but a few.

“In this regard, we consider the needs of the customers and integrate our excellent service if need be. We also go a step further by bundling our services & enablement of technology to address some bottlenecks within their operation.”

The feel-good story of Xpress Payment is essentially a by-product of understanding of the needs of the consumers, as well as a desire to maintain an enviable level of flexibility and simplicity of products and services rolled out to consumers.

This point was well emphasised by the Group Head, Switching and Terminal Services, Oluwatoyin Albert.
Albert said: “It is not enough to consistently roll out products. There must be a need to suit the processes and requirements of the client, hence the need to display a healthy dose of flexibility.

“Flexibility allows you the room to customise your products and services to appeal to the taste of the client. When You make simplicity your watchword, you are concomitantly ensuring smarter living. And that is what we are all about at Xpress payments”
“In the line of service delivery, especially as it relates to simplifying our services, we are absolutely on track. In the process of rolling out a product we have made it a point of duty to adopt the simplest patterns possible without reducing the quality of the said product.”