Electronic payment platforms such as Paga, PayPal, PaywithCapture, QuickTeller and e-Tranzact are only a handful of the dominant players in Nigeria’s burgeoning fintech industry. Collectively, they have made financial transactions much easier, eliminating the need for consumers to join long queues in banking halls or restrict their financial transactions to official work hours Mondays through Fridays.
Admittedly, the fintech market is saturated with payment software whose functionalities are oftentimes too similar to tell apart. Most need an internet connection to be fully functional, eliminate the need to visit banking halls and bring the arduous process of flight booking, airtime top-ups and even shopping to our fingertips.
Remita, one of such electronic payment platforms owned by emerging fintech giant SystemSpecs, is looking to stand out from the crowd. The software has an enviable headstart. It is current powering the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) Treasury Single Account, making it the largest and most impactful of its kind in Africa.
Last week, the beta version of the Remita app was launched to select analysts, critics and newsmen in Lagos. SystemSpecs Executive Director, Product and Sales, Adedeji Olowe said the app would enable users effortlessly settle utility bills and it is packed with exciting user-friendly features.
Remita has the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) of aggregating all account balances on one platform. With this singular feature, it eliminates the need to download or toggle multiple apps on our phones which we seldom use. This feature is ideal for business people and workers who open multiple accounts whenever their businesses or jobs demand it.
Using the App for one week, one notices that Zenith Bank, UBA, Access, Wema, FCMB, and ProvidusBank have been fully integrated on the mobile application, with more banks set to join when the app gets an upgrade from its Beta version.
Meanwhile, Remita shares the ‘snap and tap-to-pay’ feature with PaywithCapture. This enables users respond to payment requests from restaurants, shopping outlets, schools, family, friends or other billers by simply snapping a QR code or tapping their mobile devices against a third party’s to complete financial transactions. While this feature is not exactly unique, we must be reminded that only a handful of electronic apps in the market have it.
One of the most interesting features for tech enthusiasts like me is the expense charts that show transaction history at a glance. With this feature, users can make financially intelligent decisions at a glance without the burden of reviewing boring figures. Even after the first week, one can start to appreciate spending patterns that will lead to financial control.
As expected, airtime top-ups, fund transfers and bill payments are features that will remain the favourite of the app. With a comprehensive list of government agencies already preloaded on the App, Remita comes in ready-made to delight anyone having to pay government fees, duties, levies, taxes, tariffs etc. Just name it and it is done.
Even though Remita deliberately positioned as the App to deliver all your payments needs with ease, with the intricate intertwine of our lives and government in these climes, the ease of making government payments will remain a favourite feature.
The argument might be made that the Nigerian market is saturated with downloadable apps whose functions overlap. But the Remita app is making a try at differentiation with features geared towards suiting the needs of different target audiences. Unlike other apps, Remita has the advantage of gaining a measure of popularity as a software dating back to 2006 which its owners are leveraging to introduce a mobile variant for ease of use.
Research reveals that many Nigerians love the simplicity and speed associated with mobile payments, but still grapple with making high-volume transactions on the platform due to security issues. The Remita app addresses this with standard industry security measures and specific security layers that guarantee the integrity of all access and transactions, including Personal Security Number, fingerprint authentication and One-Time Password Verification, among others.
The Remita app, whose functionality cuts across different age ranges, can be used by students and youths to pay their school fees, buy movie tickets and data, and pre-qualifies them for free airtime if they refer the app to their peers.
With the passage of time, new apps will continue to hit the market while existing ones without user-friendly features will be swept away by the tide of innovation. The owners of Remita insist their long track record is built on dynamism and customer satisfaction, and the narrative will remain consistent with the newly introduced Remita app.
We look forward to all the banks getting on the app for us to truly test the much-touted integration, whilst one waits to see how the app will stand the intensity of mass usage as consumers rush to download as word starts to spread about these unique features.
The KPMG FinTech Report 2016 observes that the Nigerian economy offers financial technology (fintech) outfits robust business opportunities. The opportunities seem virtually limitless because less than 50 million people have bank accounts in the country’s population of over 170 million people, 115 million of whom are youthful and use mobile phones for financial transactions.
Not surprisingly, fintech companies are cashing in to launch products cutting across lending, payment, transfer, purchasing, investing/borrowing and switching.The latest on the line-up is the Remita app.
*Oluremi Martins is a Lagos-based tech enthusiast.