Nigeria:MasterCard launches e-payment for MSMEs

Global payment technology company, MasterCard, has introduced electronic payment system technology to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the country.

The company described the e-payment system as Nigeria’s first MSME-focused acceptance development programme that would extend the security and convenience of e-payments to merchants and their customers who previously depended on cash to transact.

To begin the programme, MasterCard said it was partnering First Bank of Nigeria and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc to roll out hundreds of mobile Point of Sale devices to retailers.

The retailers, according to the technology company, are fast moving consumer goods outlets, grocers and leading online stores, allowing them to process debit, prepaid and credit card transactions by using a smartphone connected to a secure card reader.

A statement by MasterCard quoted its Vice-President and Area Business Head, West Africa, Omokehinde Ojomuyide, as saying, “The MSMEs are an important sector in our economy, representing 95 per cent of registered businesses in Nigeria. However, nearly 98 per cent of all the MSME transactions are still made with cash.”

“Using innovative payment technology, this programme will help the MSMEs reduce the costs of cash, increase sales, grow their customer base and improve cash flow, while making it easier and safer for their customers to pay.”

The MPOS solution comprises a MPOS payments application and a physical card reader with a secure PIN pad for PIN entry that connects to the merchant’s smartphone using Bluetooth.

According to the statement, the MPOS application negates the need for merchants to access a fixed data or telephone line, and helps them to overcome connectivity challenges as the devices use a range of data connectivity options including EDGE, 2G, 3G, and 4G.

The MPOS technology, it stated, would also adhere to the ‘CHIP and PIN’ certifications mandated in Nigeria, meaning consumers could be assured that their transactions were safe and secure.

To further encourage the MSMEs to adopt electronic payments, MasterCard said it was working with the MPOS solution providers to introduce a range of value added services including loyalty programmes, air-time top up, person-to-person remittances, bill payments, inventory control and others.

It also said the services would enable merchants to grow their revenues and increase efficiencies.

“The rapid growth of smartphones in Nigeria provides a huge opportunity for innovation across all industries, especially in payments,” Ojomuyide said.

“This programme uses smart technology that transforms mobile devices into tools of commerce, and delivers services that will benefit all stakeholders in the payments ecosystem. It also supports the Central

Bank of Nigeria’s Cashless Nigeria policy, and will help this vital sector to connect more efficiently to the national and global economy,” she added.