Interswitch, the leading Africa-focused integrated digital payments and commerce company, held an immersion session and interactive parley with members of the media on Thursday, March 17, 2022.
The aim was to engage with the media, answer some burning questions, and provide relevant updates to them on the solutions and services that Interswitch renders to its individual and business customers.
In her opening remark, Cherry Eromosele, Executive Vice President (EVP), Group Marketing & Corporate Communications, Interswitch, welcomed members of the media and discussed the role of Interswitch as an innovative enabler in the African Fintech ecosystem.
She said “in support of our mission to inspire Africa to greatness, Interswitch group has continued to push the boundary of innovation to deliver payment solutions that enable commerce thrive across Africa. In keeping with this goal, we have naturally taken the role of an enabler in the African Fintech ecosystem, a duty we have accepted with a deep sense of responsibility, fully realizing that several of our platforms form the framework on which many players in the ecosystem have built their offerings”.
Acknowledging the media's role in framing their narratives, she hoped that the parley would set the tone for a mutually beneficial relationship with members of the media moving forward.
The immersion session led by Olawale Akanbi, Group Head, Growth Marketing - Merchants & Ecosystem, was titled 'understanding the Interswitch business: Africa's Fintech Model Company.' It showcased the businesses of Interswitch and its position as an enabler in the fintech industry.
Some proprietary products of Interswitch were also discussed. These include but are not limited to: Webpay which has now evolved into Interswitch Payment Gateway, it is free and easy to integrate; Quickteller, Verve, API services that other fintechs leverage, software development for customers such as banks, etc. Also, there is e'Clat, a relatively new arm of Interswitch.
Interswitch e'Clat is a Healthtech company. They provide smart solutions for effective healthcare with expression at different touchpoints on the value chain, such as efficient record keeping, and so on.
Answering a question bordering on how Interswitch has been able to navigate infrastructural challenges in Nigeria, Akeem Lawal, Managing Director (MD), Payments Processing and Switching (Interswitch Purepay), highlighted that the company, which started operations in 2002, has come so far by adapting and providing their solutions to local problems.
He mentioned that standby generators are available at their data centres and offices. This is one of the ways they have managed the infrastructural challenges prevalent in Nigeria.
"We recognise the challenges; however, we also believe that the capacity to solve them are with us."
Mr Lawal also mentioned that Interswitch plans to launch an internship program and sponsors another science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education initiative through its InterswitchSPAK Switch-a-Future initiative, which already organises STEM competitions in Nigeria and Kenya. The aim is to empower the younger generations with necessary skills to tackle the prevalent issues in Africa.
Cherry Eromosele also added that InterswitchSPAK is part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) program. They intend to continue the program in other countries as they continue to expand.
On digital security issues and growing concerns from customers using digital payment platforms, Vincent Ogbunude, MD, Payment tokens (Verve), said some measures, such as the two-factor authentication, have been put in place to curb fraud.
He also mentioned that users of these platforms also need to be informed of their usage. He said they create awareness directly and indirectly by educating users on best practices when using their platforms.
Also, answering a question relating to Interswitch's presence in 185 countries and the appeal of Verve card usage in Nigeria and its possible limitations, Vincent Ogbunude mentioned that there are two types of Verve cards: Classic Verve card and Verve global card.
The Verve Global card is accepted in 185 countries. The Verve global card covers the limitations of the Classic Verve card.
He also said that they are looking at increasing global acceptance of Verve. They are working on partnering with online global merchants such as Netflix, Microsoft, AliExpress, among others, on boosting acceptance.
Regarding Quickteller's services and how they have been handling competition, Muyiwa Asagba, MD, Digital Commerce & Merchant Acquiring (Interswitch Paymate), said they focused on the consumer and their lifestyle.
He said Quickteller is tailored to the consumer's lifestyle and they have new features on the platform. Examples are the new events and airline ticket booking features on the Quickteller platform.