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How cash-less channels reduce merchants’ cost of doing business – Nwanguma

Juliet Nwanguma joined PayU, a Naspers Group Company and a leading global payment service provider, in April 2015 as the Country Manager for Nigeria. Before PayU, Juliet worked in the banking industry and has over 14years experience  in different aspects of e-business, e-commerce and payments.

She holds M.Sc  from the London School of Economics and  B.Sc in  computer science from  University of Ibadan.

What is  PayU all about?

PayU Payments Nigeria Limited, operating under the  trading name, PayU, is a recently established business in Nigeria and fully approved by the CBN. Though relatively new in the Nigerian market, PayU is a global player in the payment space in 16 markets across the world. It forms part of the leading and trusted PayU group of companies (PayU Group) owned by Naspers. Globally, PayU Group provides payment processing and related services to merchants and consumers. A key objective of the group is to make online payments simple, secure and accessible to all.

PayU Nigeria’s objective is to offer simple and secure online payment solutions to Nigerian merchants and consumers. This objective is in response to the growing market need and regulatory initiatives to go cash-less and digitise the economy, whilst at the same time ensuring financial inclusion for all.

Why Nigeria for the PayU group?


Well, it’s because of the trends shaping the Nigeria payment system. There’s been increased regulatory oversight and progressive support for cash-less economy in Nigeria as well as financial inclusion. And this has had an impact on increased awareness of electronic payment to consumers by stakeholders and also increased channels of transactions.

Additionally, other factors such as the population size and the massive youthful population of about 60%, the number of internet and mobile subscribers which has led to increased penetration, and the size and growth of e-commerce have contributed to an exciting play of payments in Nigeria.

For us, all these open up opportunities for innovation and growth for PayU.

There are a lot of payment service providers in Nigeria. What unique value proposition is PayU offering in the market?

Indeed, there are so many payment service providers that have made the payment landscape sophisticated, unique and quite interesting in terms of solution offerings. Our value proposition is definitely our technology, our people and the dynamic and lean nature of PayU.

Through our technology we provide superior product offering and innovative solutions running on robust and scalable infrastructure with high availability. Our on boarding and enrolment process is simple according to the size and type of merchant. We provide simple payment solutions to enable merchants to sell and receive payments immediately with or without a website. We also provide a reporting interface to enable merchants handle their transactions from payments to refunds and even voiding transactions. Our objective is to make payments simple, secure and accessible to all.

With our people, we have a strong team whose expertise in payment processing works with businesses to develop a clear payment strategy allowing them to focus on their core business.

Another important aspect is the dynamic and lean nature of our company which means that we are easily accessible. Customers can talk to us and get in touch with our executives easily and this gives us an edge over competition. As a result, we are able to provide expert support to our customers at any time.

How does PayU fit in to the Nigerian market? How can PayU help merchants grow in revenue compared to other payment service providers?

PayU’s local approach to providing payment services gives us a deep dive into the challenges of payments in various sectors and therefore enables us to develop and offer superior and innovative solutions. For example, in ecommerce, payments are still largely based on cash/pay on delivery despite the number of cards in circulation and high usage at the ATMs.

At PayU, we take interest in  these challenges which in turn are opportunities for us to deep dive into these problems, develop, and provide solutions that solve these problems.

Another example is our PayU Receive solution that allows merchants to receive payment securely from its customers without having a website. We also offer tokenisation and recurring payment solution which enables merchants especially billers to automatically collect payments from their customers on due dates.

These solutions reduce merchants’ cost of doing business thereby maximising revenue.

Essentially, we provide various innovative solutions to enable merchants receive payments from many channels whether online, mobile or offline.

Again, our objective is to make payment simple, secure and accessible to all. By accessibility, we mean providing various suites of solutions that enables merchants sell and receive payments.

How do SMEs in particular fit into the PayU business with the huge number of SMEs in Nigerian and their payment processing?

We have different types of services to meet the needs of small and medium businesses. We have our PayU Easy service that allows small merchants and start-ups to start accepting payments easily with minimum documentation removing the barriers to entry. Our PayU Receive solution allows merchant to receive payments with or without a website. We have pre-integrated payment plugins to popular shopping carts to enable merchants to start selling without the need of tedious integration work.

So we have a suite of payment solutions that fits the SMEs. However, we are dynamic in our approach and would like to have a deep dive with the SMEs to further understand their challenges in their entire business chain to help them grow revenue.

What is your perspective in terms of online vs. mobile payment or online vs. offline payments

As a payment gateway provider, our focus is to provide the tools and channels to enable merchants and businesses to receive payments whether online via their website or mobile via the mobile website or apps. We have a responsive payment page that renders well across many devices to cater for different types of users –website and mobile users especially with the growing number of mobile internet users according to reports.

In terms of offline, we plan to also offer offline means of receiving payments for merchants and businesses by their customers to cater for the segment of the market that are not too sophisticated in electronic payments and still make their way to the bank branches or outlets to make payments for goods and services for obvious reasons. As you know, Nigeria is still a cash economy with payments being made heavily with cash and merchants would like to receive payments from various channels from all segments of customers whether online, mobile or offline (bank branch or agent outlets).

Since you have a global coverage, I am sure you have your own opinion on how the online payments market is developing in different regions.

Yes, PayU is a leading online payment service provider with a presence in 16 markets across the world. Our presence in 16 high growth markets in Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa enable us to be experts in these countries and provide the best solutions locally. These 16 countries : Argentina – Brazil – Chile – Colombia  – Mexico – Panama – Peru  – Hungary – India – Nigeria –Poland  – Czech Republic – Romania – Russia – South Africa – Turkey represent a potential consumer base of more than 2.2 billion people.

Now let’s talk about  the Nigerian payment system: the opportunities and challenges. In your view, what are the opportunities and the challenges?

Let me start with the trends shaping the Nigeria payment industry today. There’s been increased promotion of electronic payments by the banks to their customers which has increased awareness and channels for transactions. There’s been a lot of ATM deployment by the banks and, even though ATM cash transactions remain high in volume, its impact is the increased number of cards in the system with over 25million cards in circulation which will be used by these customers at point of sale or ecommerce sites. We now have organised retail market with malls and supermarkets vs open markets and the CBN cashless initiative and policies which have had a tremendous impact on consumer behaviour in online payments. Nigeria has gone digital with high users on social media and increased mobile and internet users as well as a massive youth population increasingly becoming sophisticated with technology. 

The opportunities are limitless in payment solutions and these trends present various opportunities. For example, new types of online businesses by e-commerce players have been established which contributes to the economy leading to these merchants accepting payments electronically to increase revenue and cater for the digital consumer and also the rise of payment service providers creating and offering unique products and services to digital consumers and merchants.

In terms of challenges, some factors are: awareness by the consumer and the merchant, security and trust of electronic payment transactions, and stability and reliability of payment infrastructure.


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