Nigeria: United Payments, Banks Launch Hourly Settlement Solution for Merchants

Unified Payments(UP), Wednesday introduced to the Nigerian market a new solution named the ‘UP Hourly Settlement Service’ (UP-HSS), which is expected to boost electronic payment in the country.

The solution was unveiled in collaboration with Access Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank Limited and the United Bank for Africa Plc, while other banks are expected to join the partnership in the coming days. Also, the Artee Group, the promoters of Spar and Park n Shop, was part of the partnership.

The UP-HSS is a unique service that enables merchants to receive monies into their bank accounts hourly for every successful e-payment transactions done at their shops rather than the existing next day settlement after they have parted with goods or services, otherwise known as T+1 or Transaction Day + 1.

Speaking at the launch of the payment solution in Lagos, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, UP, Mr. Agada Apochi, described it as the first of its kind in Nigeria as well as globally, adding that it was the first of its kind to be offered by a multi-bank institution.

“There is no payment solution provider, processor or switch that offers this service anywhere else that we are aware of. Individual banks may, but that is an arrangement that is internal to each bank. But what we seek to offer is at industry level.

“This is a history that is defined by the need to encourage merchants and retailers in Nigeria to adopt electronic payment.

“I will like to say where we are today in terms of electronic payment is less than 10 per cent and the major reason why it is so, is because our attention, resources and time have been devoted more to every other stakeholders but less to the merchants, who are the business owners and retailers.

“But they do matter, and we have come to demonstrate that they matter. That was what led us to this solution,” he explained.

According to Apochi, unlike other instant credit solutions targeted at merchants, the UP-HSS ensures that merchants get their monies hourly with full settlement reports that aids them in reconciling their daily sales.

“It is scheme and option-neutral. This means that the settlement can be done for any merchant irrespective of the card brand used to initiate the transaction or the Processor of the card.

“Any Merchant desirous of benefiting from the service should simply contact any of the participating banks or UP to enjoy the service,” he added.

He explained that UP was inspired to develop this service in order to meet the needs of merchants, especially SMEs, for shorter settlement cycle and recycling of their trading capital.

Other reasons why the solution was developed, he said was to support the Central Bank of Nigeria’s cashless initiative aimed at growing the adoption of electronic payments in the country, which studies have shown all around the world helps to increase GDPs of economies that adopts and encourages electronic payments.