By Princewill Ekwujuru
The role of secondary financial services providers as catalyst for economic growth and development cannot be over emphasized in the present cashless policy scheme.
For example, in most advanced economies where the cashless policy is fully implemented, economic growth has attained an astronomical growth and this brings to mind how various services are paid for, for example, from hospital bills to groceries, insurance premiums, car purchase, house rent etc.
The recent pronouncement by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN that Nigeria will join the cashless policy society has prompted various products from the creative ingenuity of Nigerians, occasioned by the push by secondary services providers like Verve, VISA, Mastercard and others, for services like payment for legal services, and social services such as health challenges for those who require public assistance, abandoned accident victims and more.
Recently, several brands in order to improve on the cashless society brought together application developers to create apps that will advance payment systems in Nigeria for rather unthinkable payment structures.
Of particular reference is the step by Verve International , a debit card product from the stable of Interswitch Nigeria, where it opened a window of opportunity for about 50 app developers through a competition on how to infuse payment into their applications, from which six of the competitors were picked.
The Managing Director of Verve, Charles Ifedi in an interview in his office said the competition was an opportunity for app developers who are bereaved of ideas of infusing payment into their products occasioned the reason for the competition.
According to him, the apps which are expected to run on Verve’s infrastructure through banks nationwide was described as Verve’s own way of giving back to the society, which essentially is designed to offer users convenience, security, fast and hitch-free solution to the long process of getting solution to attendant social problems.
“So far payment in Nigeria has been Automated Teller Machine, ATM and Point of Sale, POS which the central bank pushed actively through cashless policy which started about two or three years ago and internet payment which is more or less new.
So, we wanted to introduce mobile payment as well, not mobile money, but payment using instrument that you could use as an ATM, POS or whatever on a mobile phone as well, that is the motivation. But the approach to bring it to the market was that, we have developers out there, bring them inside so that we can create interest for them to develop applications on the mobile platform as well.” He stated.
Ordinarily, where the company would have offered the developers job in the company reveals the company’s own idea of teaching the developers how to fish, but rather turned their fortune around, giving them a platform to earn a living from helping the society.
The idea of giving the developers a platform is an indication of thousand of ideas locked in their confines without help coming from an unconcerned society.
Verve on the other hand opted to tap into the ideas of the young Nigerians , giving them its infrastructure that will put paid to their ideas.
Even though the idea of creating apps is not new with Verve, they had consummated partnerships with brands like Microsoft and Nokia. So delving into the creative business is not new with Verve.
Like Mr Ifedi, said: “the objective of the competition is for competitors to build applications, and make payment available inside it. A lot of airlines for example, have applications that you can use to by ticket. So, one of the objectives is also to ensure that payment is inside.”
The plan is to make it available on different forms, but we started with a partnership with Microsoft and Nokia to create something for the Nokia and Microsoft at the beginning and that will run for the next few months of this year. He stated.