In a bid to promote the cashless policy in place in Nigeria and reward financial institutes for pioneering and powering electronic payment channels, the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System(NIBSS) introduced the Electronic Payments Incentives Scheme(EPIS).
EPIS was debuted to reward banks and other financial institutions, even consumers, merchants, sales persons and every stakeholder in the electronic payment medium.
But in a not so surprising turn of events, only 6 out of the 22 banks in Nigeria were awarded in the Electronic Payment Incentive Scheme(EPIS). The 6 banks include Guaranty Trust Bank(GTB), Zenith Bank, First Bank Of Nigeria(FBN), Standard Chartered Bank, Diamond Bank and CitiBank.
First Bank won in the category for the Bank Verification Number(BVN). I can completely relate because they heckled us about it real hard. CitiBank, Diamond Bank, GTB, Zenith Bank and Standard Chartered all took home plaques in different aspects of the Point of Sales(PoS) categories.
It is not surprising that, with all the show of fervency towards the processes of electronic payment in Nigeria, only six banks were found worthy of the awards. You still walk into a mall flashing plastic to shop like a faithful "cashless Nigerian" and after filling a cart, the cashier at the counter tells you that network is down. And you are forced to make payment with paper money or return the goods.
I am not still sure what the qualification and vetting processes are like, but for now, the EPIS is our Grammy Awards of electronic payment in Nigeria. So no matter our opinions, they are our yardstick for measuring the responsiveness of banks to electronic payment in Nigeria.
According to the Deputy Governor, Operations Directorate, Suleiman Barau, the awards were intended to incite healthy rivalry among banks in Nigeria. And the winners were the ones who have done very well, he went ahead to urge other banks to emulate the winners in healthily vying for the awards.
We all know how Nigerian banks love awards, if you do not know all your banks plaques and awards, you probably are not properly a part of the 'family' yet. They display it conspicuously on any and every literature they distribute. Here's to hoping this Electronic Payments Incentive Scheme would spur our financial institutions to up their standards in electronic payment and make us stop returning goods already loaded on.