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Monday, February 19, 2007

NIGERIA .(P.for Progressive)

Mobile Phone Airtime - A Virtual Currency in Nigeria by Olusola Oyewola >2007-01-11
We will continue to count our blessings as far as mobile telephony is concerned, this is because never has development been brought quickly by any previous technology-based product like the mobile phone is doing in Nigeria and equally the rest of Africa. Along side the introduction of mobile phone, came the use of airtime as an access for user to be able to get connected to the rest of the rest of word. Little did most people know that airtime would revolutionize the way they support their families. Airtime has now become one of the commonest means and secured ways of transferring money.
This innovative use of airtime by mobile phone users has become a good means of providing the average Nigerians, and to some large extent average Africans, with a more secure way of transferring money to their relatives. Many poor people do not have bank accounts, as a result sending money through a bank is usually slow, painstaking and often an expensive process. Other means of sending money are equally risky and the transfer fee is always very high. The use of airtime has overcome these and many other problems encountered when sending money through these channels.
Most people who wish to send money home now do so through the use of this medium. They simply buy airtime of the required amount at a local shop, and send the code via text message to their relatives. They in turn sell this code to local merchants who exchange the code for cash. Imagine the simplicity of doing this, just a matter of minutes they are able to receive money sent to them and consequently attend to their needs and immediate expenses. There is no time lost as found in the bureaucracy of the banking system and other methods of transferring money.
In Nigeria today, virtually every phone user is a potential businessman with the introduction of airtime transfer system by GSM operators offered to prepaid subscribers. If you have excess airtime on your mobile phone, it can easily be exchanged for cash with someone who need such airtime to be able to place some calls. One interesting issue about this process is that it does not attract any additional charge and it involves a very simple method of using code in exchange of such amount of airtime. Many subscribers have already indulged in this opportunity for obvious reasons. Parents who wish to send few amount urgently to their children at school could easily do so without undergoing unnecessary stress and will afford them the opportunity of saving useful time. Lovers could share airtime and catch up with each other while still some distance away and so the spirit of togetherness continues to flow.
Although, the process may not be fit for transfer of huge amount, the poor seem to find the process agreeable because they have been “unbanked” for so long and also their immediate financial requirement does not really involve large some of money. It is believed that if the system is well upgraded, it can stand as one of the strongest means of financial transaction in Africa particularly among the poor who had been left behind in the banking and financial systems.
While we will continue to enjoy the benefits of spending this virtual currency, it is hoped that operators of mobile phone in Africa and the professionals of the banking sector will collaborate and bring about an innovation that will upsurge the use of airtime as one of the basic transaction means. Who knows, it might be the open gate to the use of credit card by ordinary people.
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The author, Olusola Oyewola, is a subscriber of one of the cellular networks in Nigeria, and until very recently, a student of Federal University of Technology, Akure in Nigeria.
Editor's note: Mobile Banking solutions like Glo M-Banking (Nigeria), Wizzit Bank (South Africa), Standard Trust Bank TextMeCash (Ghana) amongst many others. Mobile Africa will be doing a country-by-country analysis, very soon.

Comments
Keep the good work up "I stumbled on to you site by accident but was quite amazed at"Elijah Atoyese from Ijebu,Nigeria
Help "Can i have some one who i can work with on phone banking system that was introdused in Nigeria. we need to expand the business."Emmanuel Osazee Idahosa from Kiev,
eTranzact payment system excites more tertiary institutions
By Prince Osuagwu
Posted to the Web: Wednesday, February 21, 2007



Apparently responding to the global campaign that developing societies must make Information and Communications Technology, the bedrock of academic curriculum in their tertiary institutions, to bridge the digital divide and remain relevant in the global information society, premier e-payment solutions provider in Nigeria, eTranzact, seems to be taking its payment system round the country’s major tertiary institutions.

Incidentally, indications are that the efforts are yielding better results as the product is beginning to gain preference among other mode of payments in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions. This is as many more institutions have signed on the payment system.
Hi-Tech investigations revealed that at the last count, six universities and polytechnics have installed eTranzact payment system, including all campuses of the Law School. eTranzact, has linked these schools to its payment channel, which enables students pay their tuition and other school related charges online.

Part of the benefits of this practice is that the schools can now monitor payments as they are made, thereby reducing the amount of time expended in confirming payments.
The company revealed that its payment system, initiated in conjunction with Socketworks and some banks in Nigeria, have been installed at all the campuses of the Nigerian Law School, University of Ilorin, University of Jos, University of Ibadan, Ambrose Alli University, Covenant University, and the Yaba College of Technology.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of eTranzact. Mr. Valentine Obi, said that many more schools have commissioned the payment system, adding that before long, all tertiary institutions in Nigeria would be linked to the online payment system.
He said that students of these institutions are issued eTranzact cards which enables them carry out payments online and avails the students and staff of these schools the full suite of eTranzact mobile commerce services.

The payment solution, says Mr. Obi, is especially suited to tertiary institutions in Nigeria because of the large intake of students, who make payments from many points and were experiencing difficulties keeping track of these payments when they were made.

He noted that “now, any of these schools can track from a remote location all the payments from students in real time. The administrative cost of monitoring payments made at different banks and to different accounts has been eliminated.
“The cards we are issuing to the students will be useful, even after graduation.
It gives the holders access from their phones to services such as money transfer, paying for goods and services at point of sale terminals or over the internet, and topping up the airtime of their phones,” Obi added.

The eTranzact platform is linked to majority of the banks in Nigeria, and according to company sources, would soon be linked to all banks operating in Nigeria.
What this means is that wherever a cardholder’s bank account is domiciled in Nigeria, the person could carry out different transactions using the internet or a mobile phone.















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