By EHIME ALEX
As in many developing countries, cash has been the most prevalent mode of payment in Nigeria until 2012 when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced the cashless policy with the aim of promoting the use of electronic payment channels instead of cash.
Since then, banking services in Nigeria have shifted from physical and tangible distribution to technology-enabled, such as internet, automated teller machine (ATM), mobile phones, point of sale (POS) and mobile money channels.
African economies are also in support of driving cash out of the financial system and the introduction of digital payment solutions is in line with their cashless strategies.
It is also worthy of note that one of the prerequisites for the development of national economy is to encourage a payment system that is secure, convenient, and affordable. In this regard, developed countries of the world, to a large extent, have moved away from paper payment instruments toward electronic ones, especially payment cards.
Looking at data from the CBN official website on E-Payment transactions from 2012 to 2018, it is clear that there has been an exponential increase in the volume of transactions carried out through various channels.
For instance, the volume of ATM transactions carried out in 2012 was approximately at 375.5 million compared to 875.5 million recorded in 2018. Also, the volume of transactions recorded from the POS and Internet channels rose from 2.58 million to 295.89 million, and 2.27 million to 50.8 million in the review period respectively.
This suggests that, the e-payment channels, if well implemented will help achieve the CBN‘s objective of expanding, deepening and modernizing the payment system in Nigeria, and also galvanize the apex bank in ensuring that Nigeria ranks among the top 20 economies of the world in line with the nation‘s vision 2020 aspirations.
To this course, and in line with its pioneering strategy and focus at smartly improving payments infrastructures and greater usage of non-cash means in the country, First Bank of Nigeria Limited recently launched Visa Multi-Currency card, the first of its kind to be offered by any financial institution in the country.
This All-in One-Card has by all means added to the array of FirstBank’s card offerings: Naira MasterCard and Visa Gold card.
The FirstBank Naira MasterCard, a chip and PIN Debit Card, offers a convenient alternative to the use of cash, and cheques. It is a naira denominated card linked to customer’s current or savings account, and can be used to make purchases online, pay bills and access cash at ATMs point worldwide.
With it, cardholders go cashless, have zero need for Personal Travel Allowance (PTA) or Business Travel Allowance (BTA), and also have increased limits for international transactions up to $5000 monthly on all channels with a daily ATM cash withdrawal limit of $300.
While the FirstBank Visa Gold card, an international premium credit card, is a U.S. Dollar- denominated card, secured also by chip and PIN technology. Its higher daily spending limits on ATM, POS and Web are $1,000, $10,000 and $5,000 respectively, anywhere in the World.
However, in addressing challenges many Nigerians faced while travelling abroad, FirstBank has introduced the Visa Multi-Currency card with some unique features. Before now, the major pain points for travelers have been how to source different currencies with high and non-transparent exchange rates.
In today’s businesses where expectation is significantly increasing, consumers have to embrace innovative new technology made available, such as the FirstBank Visa Multi-Currency of card, for global transactions.
The newly launched FirstBank Visa Multi-Currency card is an enhancement to the existing Visa Debit Dual Currency card. Having other unique features, the card can be linked to either or all customer’s NAIRA, USD, EURO and GBP accounts. It is designed to enhance customer experience when transacting globally outside Nigeria, and to address challenges many Nigerians faced while travelling abroad thereby positioning the bank at meeting the needs of its increasingly global customer base.
Besides other benefits are POS and Online purchases, access to and use of ATMs worldwide, and no cash collateral requirement prior to its issuance.
It is an international card secured by Chip and PIN technology with a lifespan of 3 years, and it has additional protection for web-based transactions with “Verified by Visa” (VbV). In fact, it is a one card that enables access to funds throughout the world, providing maximum protection for all card users.
It has a daily withdrawal limit of N150,000 and $1,000 for local and International transactions on the ATM channel, and N1,000,000 and $6,250 for local and international on Web. While on POS, Current account cardholders have a withdrawal limit of N2,500,000 and Savings account cardholders N500,000 distinctively for local, but $2,500 parallel for International transactions.
In the words of Mr. Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Product, “FirstBank takes pride in pioneering the Visa Multi Currency Card in the country, as we remain committed to providing products and services that are designed to ensure the banking convenience of our customers regardless of their location.”
“This card is designed to make traveling fun for our customers and ensure they have a seamless transaction experience during their vacation, tourism and other business-related trips around the globe,” he added.
True and true, FirstBank has shown itself to be a digital innovating bank since the craze of technological transformation in the financial sector, with various Awards, achievements and recognitions.
This Nigeria’s Bank of first choice was named the first financial institution in the country to achieve sustained alternative channels transaction volumes of 100 million transactions in December 2015 and May 2016.
In 2015, FirstBank won two awards in the eBusiness category: MasterCard Cardless Champion award for International acceptance across all POS channels; and MasterCard Cardless Champion award for Mobile POS (MPOS) merchant acquisition.
In 2016, it won three awards also in the eBusiness category, viz: Asian Banker award for Best Mobile Payment Product for West Africa; Asian Banker award for Credit Card of the Year for West Africa; and Global Finance Award for ‘Digital Bank of Distinction – Emerging Markets, Africa Category’.
For two consecutive years, 2016 and 2017, the bank was honoured with the Digital Bank of Distinction, Nigeria award in the Global Finance Best Digital Banks Awards.
While still counting, in 2017, FirstBank won the Cashless Champion Award of MasterCard International on POS International transactions acquiring, and same year won Interswitch awards on Fastest Mobile Penetration in Africa; Highest Card Transacting Bank in Nigeria; and Highest Verve Issuing Bank.
For FirstBank to sustain its relevance and be part of the banks of the future, it must continue to be proactive to customers’ goals, their ‘next big thing’, and invest heavily, rediscover and reassert its core role in society, while securing ongoing support of policymakers.
Facebook employee reportedly commits suicide by jumping from office building
A Facebook employee has reportedly committed suicide by jumping from the fourth floor of Facebook’s headquarters in California.
According to TIME, the unnamed Facebook employee reportedly jumped from the fourth floor of one of the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California. He was found unresponsive and declared deceased at the scene shortly after 11:30 a.m. Thursday, September 19, according to the Menlo Park police department.
A spokesperson for Facebook confirmed the devastating incident, as the company plans to contact the victim’s family before releasing the identity to the public.
“We were saddened to learn that one of our employees passed away at our Menlo Park headquarters earlier today,” the company said. “We’re cooperating with police in their investigation and providing support to employees. While the family is being notified, we have no information to share.”
The City of Menlo Park confirmed that there was “no foul play involved in this apparent suicide.”
The employee is currently only identified as a full-time software engineer at Facebook
Glo Recognizes Brilliant Students At UNIBEN
Five best-performing students of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) have been appreciated and presented with smart phones by Nigeria’s digital transformation leader, Globacom, in conjunction with its technology partner, Huawei.
The gesture was part of the corporate social responsibility initiative of the two companies, wherein outstanding students of Nigerian universities are rewarded with ICT solutions. The companies said the initiative is part of their commitment to promoting scholarship among the youth.
Apart from the five UNIBEN undergraduates who received the smartphones, the institution also got internet routers complete with data bundles.
In a brief ceremony, UNIBEN Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Ikponwonso Omoruyi, noted that the gadgets, namely five routers for the school and smartphones fully loaded with Glo data for five final year students of the University with best CGPA points, would encourage the students and the staff of the institution to continue to pursue academic excellence.
“What you have done will encourage the pursuit of academic excellence and ease the data needs of the university community. The gesture will also strengthen the bond of friendship between Globacom and the University of Benin,” he said.
The student beneficiaries were also full of appreciation to Globacom for the gesture. One of them, Promise Ekpo Osaine of the Department of Computer Engineering, said, “I feel amazed, dumbfounded, in fact I don’t know the adjective to describe how I am feeling right now. All through my five years in school, I have never experienced an event such as this where students are rewarded for academic excellence. This has really encouraged me in pushing myself further in my academic pursuit and ensuring that I graduate in flying colours. I will encourage those who are not Glo subscribers to join the network”.
Another student beneficiary, Kelvin Okoawo, of the Department of Business Administration, spoke in the same vein, stating, “I only see things of this nature on television and I am glad I am a beneficiary today. I am so happy. Big shout out to Globacom for encouraging me to work harder in my studies”.
The other beneficiaries of the largesse are Igbo Emmanuel Chibizor of the Computer Science Department, Chioma Faith Onuchukwu of the Faculty of Law and Emmanuella Uche Chuwueta of Animal Science department.
In his own remarks, Globacom’s Regional Manager, Activation, Mr. Obiora Ezeora, expressed appreciation to the University of Benin officials for the warm reception accorded to Globacom and its partner. He called on the university community to continue to support Globacom, pledging that the company would continue to strive for excellence
FirstBank Supports Educational Institutions With FirstEdu
Nigeria’s premier and leading financial services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has announced its educational solution – FirstEdu – specifically designed to enhance the educational facilities in schools. The FirstEdu product includes FirstEdu loan and FirstEdu portal.
FirstEdu loan is targeted at private Nursery & Primary and Secondary schools to assist the schools in achieving their desired growth in the medium and long-term. The product provides funding to replace old furniture and equipment, pay staff salaries, purchase brand new or fairly-used buses as well as refurbish dilapidated buildings and classroom blocks. With this product, school owners/proprietors can stay ahead of competition at all times.
The product enables the schools to access facility with no tangible collateral, apart from domiciliation of school fees account with the Bank.
In addition, FirstEdu portal is a modular and robust web-based enterprise portal that enables Tertiary educational institutions manage academic, administrative, professional, logistics and payment challenges. The basis for its robustness is to take the stress of logistics, administrative and payment challenges off the institutions, as they focus on meeting their year-long, medium and long-term objectives.
The product features and benefits include; e-Learning, virtual library and facilitation of exchange programmes with foreign educational institutions; academic & student events/time-table/calendar management; school fees payment via the internet; online information and result checking; interactive community forum between students and teachers. It also affords applicants the opportunity of enrolling from the comfort of their homes or any location around the world; no licensing, installation and maintenance cost and plugs avenues for revenue leakages amongst others.
According to Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, “with FirstEdu, private schools across the various tiers of education in Nigeria; elementary, secondary and tertiary, have the right tool to boost their business to the level they desire. With over N5 billion loans already disbursed to schools this year alone, we are committed to supporting growth in this key sector of our economy.”’
For further information on FirstEdu, visit the FirstBank branch nearest to you or contact us on our social media channels.
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