Stanbic IBTC and the future of epayment

Less than two years after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) licensed mobile money operators to drive epayment, the country has experienced explosive growth. Mr. Adekoya Adeleke, Head of Mobile Money at Stanbic IBTC Bank in this interview with IT Edge News MARTIN EKPEKE and ANTHONY NWOSU speaks on the success trail of epayments in Stanbic IBTC Bank and why epayment is the future of banking.


How will you rate epayment in Nigeria, are we getting it right?

I believe we are getting it right. A number of things that have happened show that the market is moving forward. We started two years ago with barely 7,000 point-of-sale machines (PoS) deployed by the industry, today we have over 170,000 deployed, based on the NIBBS report. We have seen an increase in activities; there are things we are doing right that can be improved on. Also in the mobile payment and mobile money space, report from CBN shows that the industry has done 64 billion in terms of transactions on the channels. What this means is that the industry is growing at a steady pace after just being introduced two years ago. Another statistic is that we have over 80,000 agents, they may not all be happy but the industry is moving in the right direction. In addition, card issuance is on the increase as the industry is witnessing an increase in number of active cards from about 11.9 Million as at October last year to over 14.85 Million cards by the end August this year.



Some people see Stanbic IBTC Bank as an elite bank that is not for everybody. Cards appear not have entered the rural areas where people are used to using cash?

At merger, the bank had 57 branches which we have steadily increased to 180 branches. There is no state capital in Nigeria today where we do not have a branch. So in the last four years, we have grown in terms of our distribution network, which means we are doing something to ensure our presence is felt. We are also expanding through agency banking. This will take banking services to all those communities. Today, we have over 3,000 agents in the network across different states in the country, and we are growing. With the new guideline from CBN that allows you to ride on agent network, we are building an agent network that allows individuals to carry out other banking services apart from bill money. So in time, you will see many agents acting like a bank not just mobile money agent, they will be like a branch extension.



How has Stanbic IBTC been able to reduce fraud in pension using technology?

One thing that has helped a lot on the mobile money platform is the ability for individuals to check their balances on payments made into their account. Today, the pension business also has a website where you can log in online or use the ATM with their credentials to check your pensions account, as well as receive alerts when payments are made. This is all about convenience, about making available services to people that focuses on their needs. On the mobile app today, you can sign up to Pensions. You can request to join us as a non pension individual. It is more convenient for you. It is also available on our USSD platform for those that do not have smart phones. All this is focused on opening up the service to all individuals regardless of status and need.



How has Stanbic IBTC Bank leveraged on the Nigerian mobile phone penetrations in terms of mobile money and mobile payment?

We have launched a mobile app, and that tells you that we are working on capitalizing on the mobile phone penetration in the country.


What are the challenges associated with your internet banking, bearing in mind internet services can be frustrating at times?

I think we are already taking this to a new level. Today, we are one of the few banks that once you have an account with us, you really don’t need to fill any other form to start internet banking. All you need to do is to go to our website and put in all your details and then you will be asked some few questions based on the records you have with us. Once this is completed you will be given access to internet banking. Essentially, what I mean is that if you go to any of our bank branches, we have a self service desk where you could also complete your registration process. This again goes back to creating a convenient service for our customers. Regarding internet banking penetration, Nigeria has the highest mobile penetration for internet usage in the world. We have moved from a very obscure usage to mass usage because of the fact that with N1, 000 data plan, you can do a lot of things on your phone. You can also tether your phone to your laptop. All these have helped in internet banking. You don’t really need to wait for the bandwidth.


What is wrong with having one simple unique card that can take care of all transactions including identification, instead of carrying different cards from different banks?

I don’t think it is a good idea. People should be given a choice regarding which bank card to carry. It can be likened to saying that an individual should use one SIM card for all the mobile operators at the same time, how will that work? Secondly, from a security angle, what happens if you lose the card or you had a PIN compromise? This means you have lost everything about you. Maybe with time that can work but for now, I will not advocate for it because customers acquire many cards for different reasons. We have credit cards, debit cards and even dollar based prepaid and debit cards that can only be used when you travel abroad. So how would we reconcile the purposes into one card for now? I believe in the future this will be the way to go when customers are more aware and are able to appreciate the risk and the benefit.


Are Stanbic IBTC Bank cards EMV compliance?

All our cards are EMV certified including our mobile money cards. We are also PCIDSS compliant as required by the CBN. Today, we are one of the few banks, if not the only bank that issues a mobile money card. If you register today on *909#, you can walk into any of our branches and request for a card, the card will be linked to your mobile money wallet. What that does for you is that whatever you load on your wallet is available on your card. You can also use the card to get money from an agent, or from any POS or ATM across the country, the card is for all individuals who require a card but don’t have a bank account, it is as simple as registering for mobile money and requesting a card at any of our branches.

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