One of the most enduring images from my childhood is a Saturday afternoon in 1996. I opened the boot of my dad’s Peugeot 504 GR and found bags of raw cash. For an inquisitive and precocious six year-old searching for his pencil case, this was an eye-popping discovery, one which my irritated dad did not see the funny side of. Perhaps it was one of those childhood memory flashes which made me grow up with the enduring misconception that my (comfortable) family was “rich”.
In fact, as I much later found out, dad was handling a real estate transaction as a middleman and the seller wanted his money on Monday. The buyer had paid in N3,000,000 by cheque the previous Monday and after the arduous waiting period of three working days, it would take another three working days after the weekend for the seller to get it if my dad carried out a bank transfer or used a cheque. He was left with no option than to go to the bank with the oldest, shabbiest car in the house (to throw off any potential robbers) and physically withdraw N3,000,000 in N50 notes which were then packed into the boot of the car and left there over the weekend. I suspect N50 might have been the highest denomination at that point.
The following Monday, he then drove to his client’s bank with a boot full of N50 bills and then carried several cash-filled bags to the bulk room where they manually counted N3,000,000. After removing his 10% commission, he then drove to his own bank to deposit N300,000 – which turned out to be a year’s school fees for myself and my younger sister.
That was in 1996.
A few Saturdays ago, I was relaxing in bed around 10a.m when my phone rang. It was a relative who urgently needed N70,000 to prosecute a piece of business she had just secured. The profit would cover her son’s upcoming school fees and a few other pressing expenses. The client gave her a cheque for the following Monday but she needed to make the delivery on that day without fail. She was relying on me to pull this off.
I picked up my phone and quickly launched my banking app. After entering her account details and payment amount, I hit ‘transfer’. A few seconds later, I received a debit confirmation for N70,000. She received it instantly and set to work on her delivery. The deadline was met and on Monday morning around 10.30a.m, I received a credit alert for N70,000. Her son’s school bursar also received a credit alert for her son’s school fees a few minutes later.
Financial transactions at the speed of thought, welcome to the world of Intuitive exchange!
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