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ePayment Stakeholders Gear for Cashless Initiative Relaunch

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Stakeholders in the epayment ecosystem have pledged their readiness to cope with challenges that may arise with the reintroduction of charges on cash withdrawals.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in a circular to all Deposit Money Banks directed that with effect from April 1, 2017, banks in the states where the cashless policy was already operating, Lagos, Ogun, Anambra, Abia, Kano, Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory, would begin to impose charges on deposits and withdrawals above N500,000.

Mrs. Regha Onajite, chief executive officer, Electronic Payment Providers Association of Nigeria (EPPAN) said: “The reintroduction of the cash processing fees is a means to help the Central Bank achieve its goal on transforming the nation to a country where we depend less on cash than on other modes of payments. Studies have shown that processing cash comes with a very high premium; these monies can be used for other things. Cash has its disadvantages such as security etcetera and those who have swung over to the digital side can tell you how convenient digital payments are.

“Ever before the introduction of the cashless policy the CBN has carried out its research and found that less than 10% of our population will be affected by this policy. For individuals, how many people do really pay or receive more than Five Hundred Thousand Naira on a daily basis? Cash processing fees are not punitive; it’s just a means of allowing people pay the price of their obsession to cash. We can spend money without necessarily touching cash.

“We understood the need for a break with the policy at the initial kick off. As an insider I can attest to the fact that we were all set and geared to go. But as a listening industry we had to step back when there was a cry for a little more time to get people to get used to the system. You can say now that there has been a lot of improvement in the system and the infrastructure is better than 2012 when we started. A lot of improvement has gone into the system in terms of policies, innovations and standardizations.

She added that, to cover lost ground, arrangements have been made to sensitize and mobilize the Nigerian citizens to understand the benefits of a cashless Nigeria and to adopt alternative payments modes instead of cash. E-PPAN will be going round the country in partnership with CBN and other stakeholders. With this adoption will be faster and in no time lost grounds will be covered quickly.

Reacting to this development, Tunde Ogungbade, managing director, Global Accelerex, said: “I believe that this is a welcomed development for all stakeholders, particularly, merchants and financial institutions.  The cost of cash management according to CBN was about N192B in 2012.  I have no doubt that now that number is much higher.  The various cashless options available in Nigeria today, especially via channels such as PoS and NIP, can help save this large cost related to cash management.  This will also help bring the estimated 65% of cash in circulation, considered to be outside of the formal economy into the banking system.  Finally, the risk of theft and loss will drastically reduce further, especially in the hinterland.  Today, most merchants fail to recognize the cost of cash management on their business.”

James Agada, Chief Executive Officer, CWG Plc, said that in several places such as US, Europe and even in India, ATMs and PoS devices are not even deployed by banks alone. It is the mixture of deployers that led to increased ATM penetration.

“Independent deployers and ATM networks treat ATM deployment and operation as a business proposition — they provide a value, people appreciate the value and pay for it. And in every business, there is growth when the business is inherently profitable, what users pay exceeds the cost to provide the service. An analysis of the share of market of independent ATM deployers across the globe shows clearly that where there is a strong, independent deployer presence, the ATM penetration is also high. And independent deployers only get in the game where it is profitable.”

 

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E-Financial

Customers to Sue Banks over Stamp Duty Collections

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Stakeholders have called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to withdraw its circular mandating banks to collect stamp duties from customers’ bank accounts, stressing that such directive and practice is unconstitutional, according to the Tribune.

According to them, if the practice of deducting stamp duties from customers’ bank accounts is not suspended, it is expected that other stakeholders would challenge the banks in court, on a case by case basis.

Thus, the impending legal suits that would emanate as a result are likely to disrupt the activities of banks and result to additional legal costs, they warned.

Stakeholders at various occasions have also charged deposit money banks to suspend the practice of collecting stamp duties on receipts for deposits and transfers by customers.

The Stamp Duties Act (SDA), Chapter S8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004 (SDA) provides the legal basis for the imposition and collection of stamp duties in Nigeria.

A tax audit and financial advisory services firm, Deloitte, in a document titled: “Stamp Duties on Bank Deposits and Transfers: Are There Unresolved Issues?” and obtained by Tribune stated that, stamp duties are chargeable on all instruments relating to matters executed between a company and individual, group or body of individuals and those executed between persons or individuals. The instruments the firm noted, upon which stamp duties are chargeable include bond, bill of exchange, promissory note, covenant, conveyance on sale, lease, mortgage, among others.

This general rule according to the tax experts did not include receipts for transfer to self, transfers from savings accounts and receipts in respect of salaries and wages, yet, further to a statement issued by CBN on 21 January 2016 banks have continued to deduct these duties.

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UBA Disrupts the Market, Delights Customers with Callback Technology

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It would appear that the United Bank for Africa Plc has carved a niche for itself and gone way above its peers with its deployment of Al-powered Callback Technology.

The Al-Powered Callback Technology is one that enables the bank to call back customers instantly when they contact the bank for one reason or the other.

The UBA Group seems to have taken advantage of this high-powered system that even western banks are yet to fully implement as it has gone beyond the legacy banking systems, to omni channel marketing and social media lead generation.

This largely involves meeting its customers where they are – on websites, email, social networks, and cross-device platforms.

It is interesting to note that customers calling the bank for various reasons now have the option of requesting a call back to get on demand information. This has been implemented by using web to phone callback technology developed by Lucep.

Basically, the way it works is that customers can see the website widget deployed on the bank’s website for several financial services and products, wherein they can enter in their name and number, and select the reason for which they want a call back.

Thereafter, the Lucep AI takes the callback request, and distributes it to the right team, ensuring it goes to an authorized member of the team who has the app on their smartphone. This member can then connect back to the customer through the app itself.

Such instant response systems have huge benefits especially when it’s about following up on new customers who are inquiring about banking services.

If for example, a potential client is searching for the best mortgage rates and calls several banks including UBA.

UBA being the only bank that has implemented this Al -powered technology with an instant lead response system, is able to give the customer a call-back within one or two minutes.

This activity will naturally give the bank an edge over its competition as it will probably be the first to reach the customer back. The bank is therefore able to engage customers and offer their services faster than any other bank.

It is this kind of attention to detail, personalized service, and deft use of the latest technologies that has helped UBA stay ahead of its competitors in Africa, and ahead of the trends in the global banking industry.

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Five ‘Must’ Know Before Putting Your Money in Bitcoin

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Bitcoin is a type of digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank. Bitcoin is now worth $4,317.

Due to this, many are encouraging others to invest in the cryptocurrency. Nigerians are slowly embracing Bitcoin.

In line with this, Jumia Travel, the leading online travel agency share things Nigerians must know before joining the Bitcoin train.

More People Are Using Bitcoin
Despite the fact that some Nigerians are struggling to accept Bitcoin, more people are embracing it after years of gradual growth.
Hence, whether we like it or not, Bitcoin is the future and we have no choice than to use it.

Retailers And Vendors Are Accepting Bitcoin
You can now pay for whatever you purchase online with Bitcoin as some retailers have made it possible to settle transactions with it. Some notable companies that accept Bitcoin include Expedia, Microsoft, Subway, Newegg, TigerDirect, Tesla and PayPal. So, do not be surprised when some Nigerian companies start to accept Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Transfers Are Fast And flexible
While many financial institutions charge you or take days to process transactions, Bitcoin allows transfers from one account to another almost for free. Of course, you must already have your money in Bitcoin form. There is no need for any middlemen. As a result, the transfer is seamless.

Extremely Volatile
Bitcoin is still growing like earlier mentioned and there are a number of market factors that influence it. It very dependent on the rules of demand and supply.
The more people are willing to buy Bitcoins, the more the Bitcoin value will increase. Conversely, if more people sell, the prices will decline.

Treat It As Speculating, Not An Investment
Cryptocurrencies have a bright future as a new way to conduct commerce and business. That is not the same thing as saying that their value right now is sustainable. It’s early days yet, and, while the number of businesses accepting cryptocurrencies are growing, it’s not big enough for most of the demand to be built on legitimate trade.
This means that buying cryptocurrencies is speculation, not investment. Hence, you should be willing to lose the money you invest in buying Bitcoin!

 

 

 

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