According to Statista, digital payments across the globe are projected to grow at 12.31% over the next five years. As players in the payment and financial services space jostle for a chunk of the market, Interswitch recently laid a marker with a series of roadshows organised across Nigeria and beyond.
The term ‘global village is commonly used to describe the interconnectivity of the world. Communication, trade, entertainment, socialisation and even politicking across regions of the world have become so seamless that relating with individuals across the globe has become as smooth as engaging a neighbour across the street, hence the term global village. Indeed, the world has become one single unit, with technology and the internet providing the critical link.
As technology continues to advance and the global economy is increasingly digital, the need for robust integrated payment platforms to facilitate trade and exchange has become imperative. “The digital revolution has catalysed increases in the access and use of financial services across the world, transforming ways in which people make and receive payments, borrow, and save,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass.
It is no surprise, therefore, that the payment solutions industry in Africa and across the world has witnessed remarkable growth over the past 10 years. For instance, the Nigerian financial landscape has recorded unprecedented growth, with key players enabling payments and financial transactions across digital channels.
Expectedly, to tap into the opportunities while ensuring robust digital payment capabilities for individuals and businesses across the African continent and beyond, Interswitch, the leading integrated payments and digital commerce company in Africa, wasted no time in introducing a bouquet of solutions targeted at ensuring a robust payment ecosystem across the continent and beyond. Some of these solutions include Tokenization; Fintech Card Issuance; Interswitch Security-as-a-Service; Banking-as-a-Service; Payment-as-a-Service;, ; Card Fusion; and Agency Banking.
Interswitch assures that these solutions will help bridge the digital payments gap as they are inclusive – solving critical challenges, including the protection of customers against digital payment fraud, providing effective value financing tools for lenders, seamless integration to payment channels, and enhancing customer experience, among others.
At the heart of these solutions is Interswitch’s determination to ensure that African businesses enjoy seamless operations, including in their payment capabilities, that will enable them to achieve growth and profitability. The company stated that the products are designed to address prevailing issues within the payment ecosystem and financial industry, enhance business development, foster partnerships, and boost customer experience. The benefits of the solutions are modular and highly composable, dynamically flexible and agile, cloud-ready and containerized, cost-effective, efficient and offering rapid time-to-market deployments,.
The solutions, targeted at banks, microfinance banks, fintech and other financial institutions, according to Interswitch, “will enable financial institutions to rapidly integrate with newer payment channels with intuitive technologies.”
Beyond developing these products, Interswitch conceived and initiated a series of engagement sessions across Nigeria and beyond, to onboard its clientele and prospects onto the solutions. The roadshow, tagged Interswitch Regional Breakfast Session, underscored the payment company’s determination to show leadership in the digital payment space.
In Sierra Leone, where one of the sessions, themed “Accelerating Growth and Profitability – Leveraging Technology to Win”, was held recently, Interswitch talked about its commitment “to the advancement and penetration of digital payments in Africa as a whole.” Olubunmi Aina, Group Head of Sales, Payment Processing and Switching, Interswitch Purepay, who set the tone at the Sierra Leonian event, said. “We are in the Sierra Leone market to provide customers and businesses with secure and convenient digital payments products and to enhance customer experience.”
According to Aina, “At Interswitch, our core objective is to deliver an Africa where payments are a seamless and invisible part of everyday life, and we have carried this vision with us for the past 20 years.”
The well-attended breakfast event served a dual purpose. According to Interswitch, the session was also an opportunity to engage with the company’s key stakeholders and partners in Sierra Leone to discuss key issues and trends in the digital payment industry in that country as well as across the continent. Issues discussed included payment security, embedded payments, financial inclusion, and payment channel optimisation.
In Africa, for instance, a single market was recently forged to ensure inter-regional and cross-border trade and commerce. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, which commenced in January 2021, is expected to accelerate African growth and development through trade liberalisation and ease of commerce across 55 African countries. To ensure the success of AfCFTA as well as that of the growing e-commerce across borders, payment solutions need to be cutting-edge and seamless.
For businesses in the payment space, financial institutions, fintech, and digital commerce companies, among others, the growth in the digital economy is a great opportunity for them to innovate, scale and generally rejig their operations to provide seamless payment solutions. “Two-thirds of adults worldwide now make or receive a digital payment, with the share in developing economies [growing] from 35% in 2014 to 57% in 2021,” the Global Findex database report showed.
With the growth of digital payment comes to the threats of cyber fraud, therefore payment security is particularly crucial to the adoption of digital payment solutions in rural Africa. For banks such as the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, reputed for its community-based relationship banking strategy, the Interswitch solutions could not have come at a more opportune time as governments across the continent, including in that region, continue to push for financial inclusiveness. Solutions such as Tokenisation and Interswitch Security-as-a-Service are calibrated to address digital payment security and give peace of mind to customers as they transact.
A recent survey by McKinsey further underscored the need for strong digital payment security across Africa. The survey showed that in five years, between 2020 and 2025, the digital payments industry will grow by around 150% to reach almost $40 billion in revenues from domestic payments alone, with about 188 billion in transaction volumes.
Indeed, Interswitch has laid a strong claim to lead this growth. “At Interswitch, we will never stop pushing the limits. We will keep innovating and creating inclusive solutions that cut across the various needs of our customers,” Akeem Lawal, Managing Director, Payment Processing and Switching (Interswitch Purepay), said.
There is little doubt that the competition in the payment ecosystem will remain intense, but businesses that will survive and see growth will be those that can innovate and develop solutions that not only address digital payment needs but are intuitive enough to adapt to fast-changing trends.