Africa-focused digital payment and e-commerce company, Interswitch recently announced a strategic partnership with Africa’s turn-key e-commerce solution provider, SlimTrader to deploy a new payment monitoring portal on the MoBiashara for Hotels platform. MoBiashara was recently introduced by SlimTrader. In this interview with Jonah Nwokpoku, the Divisional CEO, Switching and Processing, Interswitch Limited, Mr. Akeem Lawal explains that through this partnership, SlimTrader will be better positioned to facilitate seamless transactions between hotels and their guests. Excerpts
The payment monitoring portal is another milestone in the road map of products and services we have jointly deployed with SlimTrader to enhance the business of local hotels across Africa.
This follows our partnership to enable booking and payments for hotel rooms online and at hotel front desks, the introduction of an integrated hotel management system as a service that allows hotels manage their inventory online and on premises as well as perform other value added services at the front desk like airtime purchase and even providing a prepaid card for foreign visitors to use while they are in Nigeria.
This portal will allow hotels see all bookings and payments made for hotels whether online or on premise, see the settlement due to them as well as reconcile bookings, stays and inventory.
What definite problems is the payment monitoring portal built to address?
The biggest problem that the payment monitoring portal solves is the lack of visibility by hotels (their administrators and managers) into their financial position and condition at any point in time. For hotels connected to SlimTrader’s MFH, the portal provides real time display of all payments made to the hotel; whether those payments were made online on the hotel’s website, on other travel agency’s sites or on the hotel’s premises. This means that those customers will no longer be confronted with situations in which a hotel is unable to confirm their payment. It also means that hotels will know exactly how much is in their account for settlement at each point in time, allowing them to plan their business more effectively.
What is Interswitch’s role in this partnership?
Interswitch provides the payment systems that integrate with MFH’s online and on premise platforms. We guaranty that once a payment is confirmed; the hotel will get their settlement the very next business day. We have partnered with SlimTrader to build this platform in a way that fully integrates into the Interswitch payment network, the most reliable payment network in Nigeria today.
Why have you chosen to partner with SlimTrader (MFH)?
Interswitch is constantly looking to partner with innovative companies that are solving payment challenges in Africa. SlimTrader is one of such companies; this is the reason why the company was one of the very first that Interswitch invested its $10 million growth fund to support their growth. We have since worked with SlimTrader to significantly enhance their value proposition in the hospitality space, co-creating several products, the latest of which is this payment monitoring portal on SlimTrader’s MoBiashara for Hotels platform.
When will this go live and how soon can hotels begin to benefit from it?
The portal is already live and we have started offering it to hotels. Hotels can get this and the other innovative products and services as soon as they sign up for SlimTrader’s MFH platform.
What are the benefits to the end-user, that is, the hotel guests?
With this portal, hotel guests never have to worry about discrepancies with hotel records with reservations made online. Paying online would be just as good as paying cash at the hotel premises. In fact, paying online might be better as the hotel guest can find discounts for booking and paying online on SlimTrader partner online travel agencies.