Electronic Payment Gets Interesting

Somewhere in the news, PayPal finally admitted Nigeria into its elite club as you can now use your Naija issued cards to register. But come to think of it, was it because of the pressure? Or because Nigeria is less fraudulent? Probably not. My experience with PayPal has been shitty at best so I’m sure it wasn’t done for some altruistic reasons.

My take? They probably started seeing numbers showing that Nigerians not only travel too much (Lagos – London is one of the most lucrative routes in the world and Emirates flies 3 times into Nigeria on any day. Kenya Airways practically hovers over Lagos) but also spend just too much, including what they haven’t earned yet.

In my previous life hawking cards like omo alata all over Africa I witnessed the gradual build out of card transactions on Amazon, Alibaba, Asos, etc. and any half brained nitwit can imagine where the trajectory is heading. Now the dudes in PayPal are not dumb (not sure ignoring Nigeria before was a smart move) and are jumping into the fray.

Or could it be connected to the fact that Amazon has launched a competing payment service that works better (Amazon is simply amazing) and has over a hundred million users to start with?

In other news, I could see the gradual loss of influence on card business in Nigeria. Get me right, the card business is booming but the other non-card payment sector is growing at a fast greater clip. POS is finally looking like a decent investment. ATMs have become invisible – you just expect them to be there. Internet banking is still the black sheep of the family, it hardly works and you just tolerate it like a bad mother-in-law but this one isn’t going to keel over yet. I would give a pass mark to Cashless Nigeria – it hasn’t been easy but I think we will finally get there. In 5 years time, mark my word, we electronic payment will own this town.

I don’t know what issues Nigeria has with Mobile Money – it isn’t just happening. I believe that sweating to replicate what happened in Kenya is just a frustrating cul de sac. Of recent I have been having some beautiful thoughts on what I feel we could do to make the Mobile Money corpse walk (I’m not morbid, Hardley Chase said that!).

Enough of the ranting for today.