In recent times, there has been a gradual shift from traditional cash systems to digital payments in Nigeria because of the ease, convenience, and speed of transactions it offers. In the last quarter of 2020, the total value of e-payment transactions in Nigeria amounted to N356 trillion according to a report.
Industry leaders in the payment space have developed innovative solutions to aid digital payments locally and globally. One of such is Unlimint, a global payment provider that is expanding into Nigeria. Founded in 2009, Unlimint acts as an integrated partner for businesses and offers more than 1500 alternative payment methods that can help open businesses up to a wider customer base and new markets internationally. The company is present in four continents.
Nairametrics spoke with Abimbola Odedeyi, Head, Nigeria, Unlimint, about its expansion into the Nigerian market.
With Unlimint coming to Nigeria, what potential does the company see in the market?
Unlimint was set up to facilitate global payments acceptance all across the world for merchants. Basically, we are a global payment gateway. And we have over 10 years experience in the industry. Speaking to why we chose Nigeria, we picked Nigeria as the first country to enter because of its capacity as the largest economy in Africa. Also, we observed that the market has been favourable to payment providers, so we decided to harness these potentials along with our service offerings, to facilitate the growth of small businesses in Nigeria.
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Now that you’re in Nigeria, what gaps are you trying to fill in Nigeria and Africa?
I wouldn’t want to call them gaps, really, but our value propositions for the Nigerian market are actually numerous. To mention a few first; from the investment perspective, we’ve actually invested quite a lot financially in the country. And we intend to actually continue to do this as we progress. Secondly, in the area of job creation, we have a policy to only hire local talents. And to buttress this, we have actually hired two senior executives as we speak. And we intend to hire more local talents as the business grows because we know that we need to work with those who know the market to actually make progress.
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Apart from being a payment gateway what other services does Unlimint offer to users?
Asides from being a payment gateway, we also provide businesses with a financial interface that enables them to have a 360-degree overview of their financial ecosystem. What this means basically, is that we will be providing a robust merchant dashboard that enables merchants access to their transactional data across channels and time. This dashboard will help them make better data-driven decisions at any time and place. Also, they’re able to track their performance using the sophisticated tools we have on this dashboard. In addition, in other countries outside Africa, we actually offer a banking solution that is tailored for the tech startups and then card issuing solutions for our merchants abroad also, as well as a payment solution that is tailored to the gaming development space, basically.
The card issuing solution is not available in Nigeria. We are licensed as an E-money institution in Europe. So we are only able to provide the services to our merchants in Europe.
How does the company hope to capture the unbanked and under-banked?
Okay, basically, how we in Unlimint intend to do this is by offering them the numerous payment methods we have to offer. And this includes the USSD, and most of the mobile money products, which are suitable for people in this category, because, you know, most of them use their feature phones. So, yeah, so since they use feature phones, we would have to give services that are actually available on those phones. But also, we intend to keep iterating to come up with the best of solutions for people who are in this category
The payment sector has come under a lot of regulations, how does Unlimint plan to navigate these challenges?
It is true that the payment sector has quite a lot of regulations. We are working to navigate this with the support of the CBN, as well as our other partners to ensure that we are kept abreast of, and comply with these regulations.
As a global company, Unlimit has so far navigated similar regulations in other countries successfully, and we believe that by working with the appropriate authorities here, working in this space will allow us yield the desired results.
How can businesses that do not have a website use your service?
For businesses without websites, mostly freelancers, we have a payment link solution. And this also serves as an invoice and a written tool for them, all they need to do is to click on the payment link tab on the merchant dashboard, which I mentioned earlier. So they fill in the purchase order, you know, put in the different details. Let’s just say maybe a cloth retailer put a shirt, 10,000, a pair of trousers, maybe 2000. And then put all those details and sum them up. Once they sum it up, a payment link is generated which they can pass on to the customer. Once customers click on that link, they are exposed to the different payment methods that exist, and then they can pick the one that is convenient for them and go ahead to make payments.
What sets Unlimint apart from other payment providers?
What sets Unlimit apart from other payment providers is that asides from the local payment methods, which we will be offering, we also will be making available our over 1000 payment methods to our merchants so as to facilitate the ability to receive payments globally. The payment methods which we’ll be making available from other countries include PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, mpesa, and a host of others from different countries. We will be making them available aside from local payment methods that exist here in Nigeria.
When is the proposed launch of the service here in Nigeria?
We aim to launch officially as soon as we receive a license from the CBN. We are currently in the process and we expect that it should take place in the near-term.
What are the outline targets for Unlimint in the short, mid, and long term as operations commence in Nigeria?
Our primary target right now is our integration with our partners. We are working to conclude this so that we can commence making the aforementioned payment methods available to merchants in Nigeria as quickly as possible.