The Nigerian payments ecosystem has undergone impressive evolution over the years; transitioning from a cash-based system to electronic payment systems that have deepened financial inclusion and spurred the country's economic growth. Inarguably, there remains a lot of ground to cover, but one cannot ignore the progress that has been recorded over the past two decades.
Given the introduction of electronic payment systems, businesses have found newer ways to sell to consumers, while consumers, on the other hand, can purchase goods and services from the comfort of their homes or other locations.
The evolution of the payments scene in Nigeria, and its prospects for the future were the core focus of discussions at the recent Business Day conference themed, 'Future of Payment and Fraud Conference 2022'. Attendees discussed the related advantages of the spread of e-payments in Nigeria; the role of players and regulators in the ecosystem, and the ongoing efforts to tame the vulnerabilities that accompany the uptake of e-payments.
Delivering a keynote speech on behalf of the Managing Director, Payment Processing and Switching (Interswitch Purepay), Akeem Lawal; the Group Head Product and Innovation, Interswitch Purepay, Olufemi Davies, highlighted the role that Interswitch, Africa’s leading integrated payments and digital commerce company is playing to ensure that it remains ahead of the curve.
In his address, Davies noted that the growth of the ecosystem and the boost of the present infrastructure were dependent on the collaboration of fintech companies. He added that as a major player and a pioneer in the payment ecosystem in Nigeria, Interswitch, from time to time, sought avenues to partner with other players in the payment system, including legacy institutions to tackle unfolding challenges.
He also identified steps Interswitch has taken through the years to ensure that its systems are fortified to enhance the e-payment experience for consumers, and forestall issues of fraud.
Giving practical examples, he shared how the drive for innovation led the technology giant to adopt the EMV 3D technology - an advanced system that enables consumers to self-authenticate with their card issuers when making online purchases without their cards present.
In the same vein, the company also introduced the Biometrics feature on Point of Sale (PoS) terminals and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), which give consumers more personalized options for seamless transactions. Davies said in each case, the innovations were either tailor-made or adapted for Africans, as most payment solutions had a more global appeal without considering the peculiar challenges of Africa.
For this reason, Davies submitted, solutions to the challenges faced by Africans should ideally be developed within the continent by those who face these challenges. He also added that policymakers need to develop tailored policies to support growth on the continent.
Wrapping up, Davies called on players to extend hands across the competitive divide to ensure that the doubts and fears of consumers were put to rest, adding that the consideration of fraud determines how Nigerians and Africans at large interact with digital payments.