Raheem Akingbolu writes on the growth and challenges facing both operators and consumers in the e-Commerce market, pointing out that the localization of the Verve card has not only demystified payment card ownership but has created a new experience in Nigeria.
Among other opportunities, the cashless economy which has recently become a global affair, has redefined Nigerian purchasing and spending habits over the years.
Of course, it has also continued to deepen operations in the financial sector as the banking public and consumers of insurance products now do more online transaction than physical appearance in the operational offices.
Like in every new thing, embracing e-Commerce as alternative shopping experience was, at the beginning, tough for Nigerians
In the last few years, both the operators and consumers have recorded both their good and low moments. While it has eased the mode of transaction, there have also been stories of scammers and attacks on delivery agents.
Today, despite the hitches, it is obvious that consumers who buy into the system are growing in folds every day. Trust has not only been built, but many Nigerians have also seen it as the easiest way to shop
The card regime and the early challenges
A few decades ago, Nigerians, being big consumers, were not inclined to paying for goods and services with debit cards. The norm then was to withdraw cash from banking halls and pay cash for those goods and services. This process changed, with banks issuing debit/credit cards to their customers who are then enabled to make withdrawals outside banking halls on automated teller machines (ATMs).
Over the years, these customers have further evolved from enjoying the convenience of not queuing in banking halls, to embracing digital payment. Perhaps because it is more convenient, efficient and safer, consumers were quick to adjust to the new regime. The issuance of payment cards has also evolved so much so that they are no longer issued by the financial institutions alone, other service providers such as petrol stations, retail stores and e-commerce platforms now offer own payment cards to their customers.
Beyond payments, these cards are being used for identification, to gain access to buildings and credit facilities. And in specific cases, payment cards can be used for voting. These digital payment tools have changed how we see payments, carry out transactions and forced us to rethink money. Increasingly, money has evolved from being just physical cash to value stored virtually and spent electronically.
Today, ATMs are seen at multiple corners across the nation, PoS terminals are held at the checkout counters of thousands of stores and more banking customers carry cards rather than cash in their wallets.
Before Verve, international card schemes dominated Nigeria, and there was a gap in the market for a domestic card scheme specifically tailored to the local consumer. In 2009 when Interswitch introduced the Verve card to the Nigeria banking community, it aimed to provide payment cards for Nigerians across all strata. The introduction of the Verve card demystified payment card ownership in Nigeria. With a promise of affordable transaction fees, competitive maintenance fees, flexible pricing regime and wider acceptance, Verve placed a debit card in the hands of every willing Nigerian.
True to the company’s brand promise of providing wider acceptance, Verve, in becoming the key to African exchange expanded its acceptability beyond Nigeria to 21 other Africa countries. To unbound its cardholders, and enable them make seamless payments at their favorite destinations across the globe, the Verve Global card was introduced and it is now accepted in over 185 countries including US, UK, UAE and South Africa, wherever the Discover, Diners Club International, Pulse and Verve logos are displayed.
Verve GoodLife Promo
Consistent with its tagline as the rewarding way to make payments, Verve, has launched the GoodLife Consumer Promo to reward over 2,550 Verve cardholders nationwide for their loyalty, with over N27 million in cash and airtime.
According to the company, the Verve GoodLife Promo aims at enabling new and existing Verve cardholders live the good life, whatever that good life may mean to them. The promo reiterates the brand’s commitment to providing seamless, reliable and secure payment solutions for its cardholders every time they use their Verve cards across payment channels such as ATM, PoS and Web or at agent banking centres.
Beyond meeting cardholders’ payment needs across safe and convenient platforms, the Verve GoodLife Promo seeks to help alleviate the suffering imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on Nigerian citizens and its cardholders. It is expected that families and individuals will find some respite from the ravages of the pandemic, with the winnings from the promo.
The Verve GoodLife promo is billed to run for 12 weeks, staring from September 1, to November 29, 2020 with weekly draws, monthly draws and a grand prize draw.
To participate in the promo, cardholders are expected to make increased transactions across various Point of Sale (PoS) terminals, ATM, Web and at agent banking centres.
For the weekly draws, cardholders are expected to transact with their Verve card at least 3 times weekly; for the monthly draws, cardholders are to transact with their Verve cards at least 12 times monthly to qualify. For the grand prize, cardholders are to transact with their Verve cards at least 36 times within 12 weeks to qualify for the grand prize draws where 2 cardholders will win N1 million each.
Speaking on the promo, the Group Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Interswitch Group, Cherry Eromosele, reiterated the brand’s commitment to reward Verve cardholders for their loyalty. She said: “Beyond our commitment to provide Verve card holders with seamless, reliable and secure payment solutions, both locally and internationally, we currently identify with their challenges, especially as occasioned by the pandemic. Therefore, we desire to play a part in alleviating these. This has informed the introduction of the Verve Good Life Promo. During the 12 weeks of the promo, we will be rewarding over 2,500 Verve card holders nationwide with over N27 million naira in cash and airtime.” The CEO added.