The idea of securing the future probably started with the registration of mobile telephone sim cards.
Now with the expected transformation to a cashless society, it becomes convenient to use mobile telephone in making other transactions other than just to make and receive voice calls. This is now possible because mobile telephone identity has been guaranteed, and as such is trusted for financial transactions.
Also, with the expected new identity management scheme, doing business from the comfort of one’s office or home will be relished by the bankable population in the country as cases of fraud will reduce
As one observer puts it, “it is like killing two birds with one stone, a meeting place for convenience and Anti-corruption medication. At least the ‘Ghana must go’ bags will cease, if not reduce, and all transactions of corrupt payments done electronically will be easily traced.
And so, with the expected new form of managing identity, the establishment of credit bureaux by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and now the cashless phenomenon that has become the apex bank’s new agenda, banks and other institutions can ride on the back of these facilities to higher levels.
What all this translates to is that the cashless campaign would save the ever busy people time if we key in to the central bank new rhythm. After all, time is money they say. For instance, the real cost of time is never really appreciated until strains attributable to lost man-hours leave gaping holes in the bottom line of businesses.
Getting around unending tortuous traffic and busy work schedules have since made leaving the office for banking transactions an expensive venture. The thought of having to spend additional time on queues in the banking halls is by no means flattering.
Nonetheless, the above scenario can be a scene from a rested soap opera for discerning business owners who are making technology work for them, thereby saving up valuable time to pursue other engagements. Recent developments in the financial services sector show a growing patronage of alternative payment channels that are increasingly making mandatory visits to banks a thing of the past.
In addition to the fact that the new technology brings about convenience and security, perhaps the best incentive for customers utilising alternative channels is the promise of low transactions costs, and speedy service. Today, a transaction that could have taken hours is concluded in a timely and secure manner through the use of ATMs, POS terminals, phones and the Internet.
Already, banks in the country are making last minute preparations for the takeoff of Central Bank of Nigeria’s cashless policy pilot scheme in Lagos by January 1, 2012. The cash lodgment/withdrawal limit policy, an initiative of the CBN and Bankers Committee will ensure that a daily cumulative limit of N150, 000 and N1, 000,000 on free cash withdrawals and lodgments by individual and corporate customer respectively.
Also, third party cheques above N150, 000 will no longer be eligible for encashment over the counter as value for such cheques shall be received through the clearing house.
First Bank through its array of products and services coupled with the various electronic payment channels has set the stage for hitch-free implementation of the policy. Some of the products designed to ensure full and seamless implementation include FirstPay, FirstMobile, FirstAlert, and FirstOnline, among others.
The FirstBank group is offering its customers these safe, convenient and secured alternative banking channels to facilitate the drive towards a cashless economy as well as promote financial inclusion.
The bank has various products that enable payments, transfers, cash deposits, and purchases via the Internet, mobile Phones, Point of Sale Terminals (Pos) and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).
Responding to unrelenting campaigns – being championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) - on the need for a cashless economy, virtually all banks have introduced these alternative business channels to the delight of savvy customers. In fact, industry watchers view this development as the new dimension of competition in the financial services sector.
First Bank of Nigeria Plc (FirstBank) raised the bar in technology-driven banking through a suite of highly secure electronic banking products and the recent introduction of the bio-metric Automated Teller Machine (ATM), the first in Nigeria’s banking sector. The deployment of the new biometric solution provides convenience and security to the bank’s diverse customer segments, and aligns with financial inclusion strategy of the Central Bank of Nigeria to address the unbanked population.
Speaking on the bank’s preparedness recently, Group Managing Director First Bank Nigeria Plc, Mr Bisi Onasanya, said the bank’s alternative channels would ensure that customers enjoy effective service when the Operation Cashless Lagos campaign commences by January 1, 2012.
The bank’s FirstPay channel is a web-based payment platform designed and developed to allow clients directly effect payment instructions from their offices anytime in a very secure and efficient manner.
The solution is most suitable for clients who carry out bulk payments against their accounts in form of salary payment, vendor/supplier payment, e-dividend and pensions, among others regardless of account bank. It gives the corporate the power to execute their payment instructions without first sending a physical instruction to the bank and waiting for the bank to effect the instructions.
The product allows the initiation of an instruction by uploading the instruction in an approved file format. Following the upload, the transaction authoriser is notified by e-mail and/or SMS with the payment authorisation code which enables the authoriser approve payments, with corresponding debit and credit entries passed automatically.
The platform is available to setup clients through a browser and does not require any special infrastructure or additional investment on the part of the client other than an internet connection.
The benefits of this product are immense. It enables corporate initiate and conclude payments without relying on the branch to process on their behalf; brings about efficient and timely payment of beneficiaries especially time critical payments; approval of payments can be done from anywhere in the world regardless of the location of the authorisers; view reports and audit trail for easy reconciliation and it is quite convenient and easy to use.
Another product that is already setting pace in the banking landscape is the FirstMobile banking. This is a network independent mobile phone solution that provides financial services and other value added services using the mobile phone and a payment card (Debit – prepaid cards). This solution is available for all FirstBank account holders.
FirstMobile from FirstBank means you have access to your account, any time anywhere, via your mobile phone. So whether you are at home, on a bus or on a date...you have total control of your money.
Its features include airtime top-up (Self and 3rd party), fund transfer (Inter and Intra Bank) bills payment (DSTV, HiTV, Post-paid), balance inquiry, and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Cardlex Cash, among others.
It is safe, convenient, quick and easy to use. Its use applies to all bankable population.