BEYONDBRANCHES LAUNCHES AGENT NETWORK 3.0 IN NIGERIA
USING AGENT-CENTRIC DESIGN TO ACCELERATE THE ADOPTION OF MOBILE FINANCIAL SERVICES
London and Lagos, 26 November 2013: BeyondBranches has implemented its Duka Platform in association with Quickteller (a value added service platform provided by Interswitch, the largest integrated payment processing service provider in Nigeria) and has created standardized processes for a robust, secure and scalable network. Banks, mobile money operators and other entities can leverage the BeyondBranches Network to offer branchless services to their customers.
Agents are identified, vetted and trained to use the service on their internet-enabled mobile handset. Once they pass a quality control test, agents are allowed to advertise BeyondBranches services. Anyone in the local community can use cash to pay over 100 different types of bills, pay to charity, buy tickets and airtime through the network of approved agents.
Using this approach, BeyondBranches has been able to bring the benefits of digital financial services within reach of those who prefer paying cash. Customers also get the benefit of not having to travel far to effect payment for such common services as airtime, utility bills, and cash lodgments into their bank accounts. As consumers begin to see the benefits of mobile payments, they can potentially become users of mobile payment services currently being deployed in Nigeria by many organizations under the Central Bank of Nigeria’s mobile payment regulatory framework.
In addition to enabling agents to quickly earn commissions as soon they are activated, BeyondBranches is going to offer a suite of small business services to help agents manage their businesses better and become more efficient using mobile devices. These services include managing store inventory, tracking store credit, accessing credit providers, buying insurance and mobile based localized advertising amongst others. These services will bring value to the agent across normal day- to-day operations thereby enabling active participation in the growing digital economy.
Over the past 6 months, BeyondBranches conducted a trial in 13 cities and towns across 10 states in Nigeria. It has developed a network of over 100 qualified agents. This network is expanding through a range of collaborations that BeyondBranches is implementing.
Gregory Ubigen, chief executive of BeyondBranches International, said: “Of 100 million adults in Nigeria, only 25% of have access to formal financial services. Almost all transactions are done using cash. This service enables consumers to enjoy the benefits of mobile payments in a simple, intuitive way. This service enables people to efficiently pay with cash even in remote areas of the country. We look forward to playing our part in supporting the Cashless Nigeria initiative being driven by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Mrs Titilola Shogaolu Chief Payment and Value Added Services Officer of Interswitch Nigeria said: “Interswitch and other industry players have made great progress in the past few years to deliver electronic payments to the country. The Nigerian economy remains pre – dominantly cash – based which makes the BeyondBranches proposition very interesting to us since it enables people to pay cash at an agent and leverage the Interswitch infrastructure thereby enabling them to participate in the digital economy. Agents will earn commissions quickly and also establish a profile that can be used to access specific financial services to help their own businesses grow. This unique combination will help drive financial inclusion and deliver a major impact on the economic development of the country.”
Simon Aderinlola, BeyondBranches Chief Operating Officer in Nigeria said: “Apart from major towns and cities, there is an almost complete lack of physical banking infrastructure. Our approach helps create a digital services infrastructure that can be leveraged by Banks at a reasonable cost to bring financial services to the masses.”
Prateek Shrivastava, chief commercial officer of BeyondBranches International said: “Our unique proposition of bringing together merchant services and financial transactions helps engage the agent in the digital economy thereby increasing access to financial services across the country. This is the foundation of a secure, active and engaged agent network - what we call Agent Network 3.0. Our model is replicable around the world and we start with Nigeria.”
BeyondBranches International Limited was founded in London, UK in March 2013 with a mission to build robust, secure, active and engaged agent networks globally. BeyondBranches Nigeria was setup in May 2013 to support the cashless, agency banking and mobile payment initiatives running in that country. BeyondBranches is underpinned by a flexible, secure platform and scalable processes to enable Banks and other organizations to effectively leverage the network to bring services to their customers efficiently. For more information, visit www.beyondbranches.com.
Interswitch Limited is an integrated payment processing network which provides technology integration, advisory services and transaction processing and payment infrastructure to government, banks and corporate organizations. Interswitch is the promoter of the Verve payment brand and provides online, real-time transaction switching that enable businesses and individuals have access to their funds across the 21 banks in Nigeria and across a variety of payment channels such as ATMS, POS terminals, Mobile Phones, Kiosks, Web and Bank Branches and has operations in Nigeria and throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. For more information, visit www.interswitchng.com.