By Adedapo Adesanya
9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB), as part of its efforts to reach more unbanked Nigerians and providing a more convenient way of banking, has officially launched its platform in Lagos, with the promise to have six million subscribers within one year.
Business Post had reported that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gave final approval to 9PSB to commence operations in fostering financial inclusion drive in the Nigerian ecosystem in August 2020.
The debut of the platform becomes imperative as bank customers continue to encounter numerous challenges such as regular long queues in the banking halls, consistent network failure, stringent documentation to access credit facilities and frequent transaction/dispensing error, among others.
Speaking during the launch, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of 9PSB, Ms Branka Mracajac, said the service was launched to provide Nigerians more secure system to transact with ease and get rewarded for using the platform.
“You don’t have to go to the bank or need BVN to operate; all customers need is their phone number, which represents their account number.
“I would say there is a difference between our platform and other banking platforms. All a customer needed is to have a smartphone or feature device and that’s it, so there could be no rush hour,” she said.
On the targeted customers, she said: “I would say that we are targeting every Nigerian, of course, our purpose here is financial inclusion but we are not limited only to other banking populations. We think we can offer better services even for bank clients.
“We are independent of 9mobile, that is, we stand alone and not a branch of 9mobile. Our relationship is a business for business relationship. 9PSB has its own board; in fact, the regulator stipulates that it must be independent.
“We will deploy a wide network of agents in rural areas to start educating clients who don’t have the opportunity to have access to banking; we will also build trust and educate them on a daily basis on how to use banking services.”
On his part, a non-executive director in the firm, Mr Philips Oki, said: “We tend to reach over six million subscribers in our first year so, the growth is massive; in terms of return, the agents are going to be introduced to good remuneration in term of the commission that cannot be compared to in the industry, among others. Returning to our partner is another angle. Our partners are going to enjoy a lot because this is going to be first in Africa and in Nigeria.”
Also speaking, the Head of Product and Service Team, Mr Femi Balogun, said: “The challenges are huge and we are still facing them; challenges from CBN documentations to product development. Product development has been a challenge because we want to offer value, and because of that, we needed to review pay-point of the customers.
“The team went to Kano State to seat with the farmers to understand their pay-point, we also went to Maiduguri to meet the people in the IDPs camp; we were in Nasarawa, and Yobe because we want to deliver value. The challenges still continue because we will continue to improve.”
On charges, Mr Balogun said: “We have low transaction charges; we understand what our competitors are doing and we are bringing value; the more customers buy recharge cards on our platform, the more they get cashback in their account. Customers also get a commission for using the platform, which is why we are bringing it to the table.”
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