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  1. Analysis
June 18, 2014

Country survey: Nigeria

The Nigerian economy is among the fastest-growing in Africa, and was largely resilient to the global financial crisis, mainly due to the Nigerian government's efforts to reduce its dependence on oil exports and improve non-oil sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and financial services. With government reforms in infrastructure sectors such as power, railways and telecommunications underway, GDP is anticipated to grow further over the forecast period (2014-2018), a positive sign for the Nigerian cards and payments industry.

By Editorial

The Nigerian economy is among the fastest-growing in Africa, and was largely resilient to the global financial crisis, mainly due to the Nigerian government’s efforts to reduce its dependence on oil exports and improve non-oil sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and financial services. With government reforms in infrastructure sectors such as power, railways and telecommunications underway, GDP is anticipated to grow further over the forecast period (2014-2018), a positive sign for the Nigerian cards and payments industry.

In terms of number of cards in circulation, the Nigerian card payments channel was dominated by the debit cards category with a 67.3% channel share, followed by prepaid and credit cards with channel shares of 31.0% and 1.7% respectively in 2013. Although the credit cards category had the smallest channel share of 1.7%, it registered the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.30% during the review period, followed by the debit and prepaid card categories.

The Nigerian cards and payments industry presents healthy growth potential

The Nigerian card payments channel recorded strong growth during the review period both in terms of volume and value. The card payments channel grew at a review-period CAGR of 12.89%, rising from 30.5 M cards in circulation in 2009 to 49.5 M in 2013. Over the forecast period, the card payments channel is forecast to register a CAGR of 9.76%, rising from 56.1 M cards in circulation 2014 to 81.4 M in 2018.

The review-period growth was a result of the Nigerian government’s efforts to move its cash-based economy towards non-cash payments. Projects such as Cash-Less Lagos have been launched to promote electronic payments and curb issues such as tax evasion and money laundering.

In terms of transaction value, the card payments channel grew at a significant CAGR of 31.69% during the review period, from NGN1.1 Tn (US$7.1 Bn) in 2009 to NGN3.2 Tn in 2013. The channel is expected to post a forecast-period CAGR of 11.09%, from NGN3.6 Tn in 2014 to NGN5.5 Tn in 2018.

Lower banking penetration rates represent promising future growth prospects

According to a survey conducted in 2012 by financial sector development organization EFInA on access to financial services in Nigeria, 34.9 M adults, equivalent to 39.7% of the adult population, were not part of the formal financial system. Unfamiliarity with banks, financial illiteracy, lack of adequate documentation and perceived high charges were key reasons for not using formal banking services. This provides significant opportunities for banks to access this potential market by creating awareness of banking products, using marketing and promotional offers and providing access to banking by opening branches in rural and remote areas. Banks have already taken a number of initiatives, such as the introduction of prepaid cards with low charges, and financial literacy campaigns.

Growth of m-commerce, e-commerce and outbound travel to drive the card payments channel

Mobile payments (m-payments) registered an exponential review-period CAGR of 147.46%, from NGN1.3 Bn in 2009 to NGN47.1 Bn in 2013. M-payments are anticipated to record a forecast-period CAGR of 23.24%. E-commerce also grew at a healthy review-period CAGR of 24.29%, from NGN38.6 Bn in 2009 to NGN92.1 Bn in 2013, and is anticipated to record a forecast-period CAGR of 12.63%. Outbound travel spending by retail and corporate consumers increased during the review period at a CAGR of 17.25%, and is anticipated to increase further over the forecast period at a CAGR of 9.31%, fueling the growth of travel cards.

Government measures to diminish the cash-based transactions to drive card payments

In 2012, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced a new policy stipulating a cash handling charge on daily cash withdrawals or deposits which exceed NGN500,000 for individuals and NGN3,000,000 for corporate bodies, in order to reduce the amount of physical cash in circulation. The policy is initially piloted in Lagos and will be gradually introduced in other Nigerian states. Consumers, financial institutions and the government are all expected to benefit from the policy.

Adoption of secure payment technology to curb the growing fraudulent activities

Total card fraud in Nigeria increased significantly at a CAGR of 24.87%, from NGN267.9 M in 2009 to NGN651.3 M in 2013. To offer more security to card users and enable a greater number of online and offline transactions, several banks have enhanced security features in cards. According to the CBN’s guidelines, all banks were required to upgrade their products from magnetic stripe cards to chip-and-PIN cards by September 30, 2010 and following the central bank’s directive, banks in Nigeria started to offer chip-and-PIN cards from 2011 onwards. To conduct secure online payments, banks have implemented the MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa programs. The adoption of advanced security features is projected to drive growth in card-based payments over the forecast period.

Government’s efforts to increase banked population

In May 2013, the Nigerian National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) announced plans to introduce 13 M national identity smart cards with electronic payment functionality. The pilot project will be carried out in conjunction with MasterCard. Individuals above 16 years will receive a multipurpose identity card with MasterCard’s prepaid functionality. Access Bank will be the pilot issuer bank, with Unified Payment Services as the payment processor. United Bank for Africa (UBA), Union Bank, Zenith Bank, Skye Bank, Unity Bank, Stanbic and First Bank will be other issuing banks on successful completion of the pilot. The program is envisaged to have a significant impact on Nigeria’s unbanked population.

Structured marketing efforts to attract a variety of key demographics

The Nigerian card payments channel has yet to reach its full potential by card issuers. Niche categories such as students and young people, females, gift, travel, business and e-shopping cards are gaining in popularity in other developed, and developing countries, but are yet to be developed by issuers in Nigeria. Customer segmentation is an important strategy to increase the number of cards in circulation, and some banks are offering cards based on segmentation.

  • GTB is offering the Smart Kids Save (SKS) Teen Card to SKS Teen account holders aged 13?18 years, giving them 24-hour access to funds in their SKS Teen card accounts anywhere in the world.
  • GTB launched the student-specific GTCrea8 account in 2009. The bank also offers the GTCrea8 Card for college students to enable them to access to their accounts anywhere in the world.
  • For travelers, banks such as UBA, Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria (SCBN) and Access Bank offer both debit and credit cards with a range of value-added services such as higher credit limits, purchase insurance, travel insurance, concierge services and priority passes, among others.
  • For high-income individuals, banks offer services such as emergency card replacements, emergency roadside assistance, access to golf clubs and private clubs in Nigeria, and medical and legal services.

Embracing social media for customer engagement

The use of social media to reach consumers is increasing rapidly among Nigerian banks. FirstBank uses micro-blogging tool Twitter to communicate developments concerning the bank’s products and services. The bank also has a presence on Facebook and YouTube. Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) and United Bank of Africa (UBA) are also present on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. This trend will have a positive impact on the cards and payments industry.

Financial inclusion strategy

In 2010, the CBN announced a financial inclusion strategy to provide services such as loans, savings, money transfers, insurance and pensions to the disadvantaged and low-income population, with the aim of reducing the percentage of Nigerians excluded from financial services from 46.3% in 2010 to 20% by the end of 2020. The CBN has been encouraging commercial banks to increase banking penetration rates while issuing various regulations and guidelines. For example in October 2012, the CBN raised the maximum amount that can be loaded onto a prepaid card from NGN20,000 to NGN50,000 per day, to increase the number of cardholders not linked to a bank account. The financial inclusion strategy is expected to increase the banked population and card use.

  1. Country Surveys
June 11, 2014updated 04 Apr 2017 4:06pm

Country survey: Nigeria

The Nigerian economy is among the fastest-growing in Africa, and was largely resilient to the global financial crisis, mainly due to the Nigerian government's efforts to reduce its dependence on oil exports and improve non-oil sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and financial services. With government reforms in infrastructure sectors such as power, railways and telecommunications underway, GDP is anticipated to grow further over the forecast period (2014-2018), a positive sign for the Nigerian cards and payments industry.

By Editorial

The Nigerian economy is among the fastest-growing in Africa, and was largely resilient to the global financial crisis, mainly due to the Nigerian government’s efforts to reduce its dependence on oil exports and improve non-oil sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and financial services. With government reforms in infrastructure sectors such as power, railways and telecommunications underway, GDP is anticipated to grow further over the forecast period (2014-2018), a positive sign for the Nigerian cards and payments industry.

In terms of number of cards in circulation, the Nigerian card payments channel was dominated by the debit cards category with a 67.3% channel share, followed by prepaid and credit cards with channel shares of 31.0% and 1.7% respectively in 2013. Although the credit cards category had the smallest channel share of 1.7%, it registered the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.30% during the review period, followed by the debit and prepaid card categories.

The Nigerian cards and payments industry presents healthy growth potential

The Nigerian card payments channel recorded strong growth during the review period both in terms of volume and value. The card payments channel grew at a review-period CAGR of 12.89%, rising from 30.5 M cards in circulation in 2009 to 49.5 M in 2013. Over the forecast period, the card payments channel is forecast to register a CAGR of 9.76%, rising from 56.1 M cards in circulation 2014 to 81.4 M in 2018.

The review-period growth was a result of the Nigerian government’s efforts to move its cash-based economy towards non-cash payments. Projects such as Cash-Less Lagos have been launched to promote electronic payments and curb issues such as tax evasion and money laundering.

In terms of transaction value, the card payments channel grew at a significant CAGR of 31.69% during the review period, from NGN1.1 Tn (US$7.1 Bn) in 2009 to NGN3.2 Tn in 2013. The channel is expected to post a forecast-period CAGR of 11.09%, from NGN3.6 Tn in 2014 to NGN5.5 Tn in 2018.

Government measures to diminish the cash-based transactions to drive card payments

In 2012, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced a new policy stipulating a cash handling charge on daily cash withdrawals or deposits which exceed NGN500,000 for individuals and NGN3,000,000 for corporate bodies, in order to reduce the amount of physical cash in circulation. The policy is initially piloted in Lagos and will be gradually introduced in other Nigerian states. Consumers, financial institutions and the government are all expected to benefit from the policy.

Adoption of secure payment technology to curb the growing fraudulent activities

Total card fraud in Nigeria increased significantly at a CAGR of 24.87%, from NGN267.9 M in 2009 to NGN651.3 M in 2013. To offer more security to card users and enable a greater number of online and offline transactions, several banks have enhanced security features in cards.

According to the CBN’s guidelines, all banks were required to upgrade their products from magnetic stripe cards to chip-and-PIN cards by September 30, 2010 and following the central bank’s directive, banks in Nigeria started to offer chip-and-PIN cards from 2011 onwards. To conduct secure online payments, banks have implemented the MasterCard SecureCode and Verified by Visa programs. The adoption of advanced security features is projected to drive growth in card-based payments over the forecast period.

  1. Analysis
August 3, 2010

Country Survey: Nigeria

Widespread financial reform has been at the forefront of the Nigerian financial sectors priorities recently after the government took over nine failing banks The Nigerian banking sector was placed under immense pressure over the past 18 months, following a review by the countrys central bank which forced institutions to reclassify a large proportion of loans as non-performing.

By Verdict Staff

Widespread financial reform has been at the forefront of the Nigerian financial sector’s priorities recently after the government took over nine failing banks. But there is evidence the payments industry remains healthy, with Visa and MasterCard starting to gain traction.

Nigeria stamp

The Nigerian banking sector was placed under immense pressure over the past 18 months, following a review by the country’s central bank which forced institutions to reclassify a large proportion of loans as non-performing.

Nigeria’s banks extended credit rapidly in the years leading up to the financial crisis and were hit badly when oil prices and the value of the domestic stock market crashed. Bank earnings were hit significantly and nine banks required liquidity support from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

According to ratings agency Fitch, in its Nigerian Banking Sector Update, the financial crisis exposed bad management and corporate governance among the rescued banks, leading to the central bank sacking the management of eight of the banks it was forced to bail out.

Despite pressure on the financial system the banks are still extending credit to private individuals, with lending to the private sector up from NGN8.509trn ($56.6bn) to NGN10.066trn between April 2009 and 2010.

The key challenges facing the banking sector, and by extension the cards industry, in 2010 revolved around a number of factors. The extent to which new regulations may impact business models is a common theme currently in the world of finance, and Nigeria is no different.

The country’s central bank is conducting a review into the universal banking model, a business model it previously recommended, following similar investigations in the US and Europe into whether investment banking and capital markets activities should be split from retail banking and consumer lending.

There is also a concerted effort to improve governance and risk oversight, meeting the challenges of core IT systems, data aggregation and growing earnings in a weak market.

 

Nigeria: Key statistics, economyRestoring balance sheets

According to a report from Nigeria’s Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access agency, the top concern for banking executives will be how they deal with distressed assets and debt on their balance sheets.

“Many banks face a strategic dilemma,” the report said. “They want to restore their balance sheets and rebuild capital, and one of the quickest ways to do this is to grow their businesses.

“In the past, mergers and acquisitions were a major source of growth and this remains an avenue for those willing to purchase failing or failed institutions. However, many banks don’t have enough capital for this to be an option.

“They need to find ways to grow organically and this is an especially tough challenge because the economy is in fragile recovery, regulation is likely to expand and consumers are trying to pay off debts and increase their savings.”

According to Barry Kislingbury, solutions manager for payments and messaging at Misys, Africa’s growing role as a source for raw materials for countries such as China has led to a surge of investment in the infrastructure to support corporate and payment activity.

“At the same time, using the banking and mobile systems to move money about has also increased dramatically, partly because the regulators want to see the movement and have put pressure on the banks to improve services and reduce costs, but also because the offerings seem to be good, cheap and easily accessible,” Kislingbury told CI.

 

Fragmented regulation

However, the common obstacles of developing electronic payments in the region are a lack of consumer education and a somewhat fragmented regulatory environment, although both these areas are rapidly improving.

“There seems a strong desire to get over these, but the biggest issue is regulators,” Kislingbury added. “Either a lack of power or simply the nature of doing business in some African countries is not well aligned to a well-regulated environment.”

Africa as a whole is now making strides on this front, and its improving regulatory infrastructure is credited with helping the continent avoid recession in 2009. Asia was the only other region to do so. The key reasons behind this, according to a June 2010 report by McKinsey, is that governments across the continent moved to end armed conflicts and adopt macroeconomic reforms to create a better business climate.

Nigeria privatised 116 enterprises between 1999 and 2006 as it moves to a more diversified economy. The country, which has traditionally relied heavily on oil and gas exports, has recently been experiencing growth in the services sector. Resources accounted for 35% of the country’s GDP growth from 2000, compared to 37% for services, 27% for agriculture and 1% for manufacturing.

It also has good relations with China, and recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the country for inward investment of up to $23bn on oil refineries in the hope of future access to the country’s crude reserves.

 

Nigeria point of sale: POS transactions – first half 2006-2009 volumePaving the way for credit

Credit cards were only introduced into Nigeria in 2004 and are generally targeted at wealthier Nigerians. It is estimated there are around 300,000 in circulation.

One of the obstacles to extending credit to the wider population has been the lack of a proper credit bureau in the country, which has recently been rectified through the set up of the CRC Credit Bureau in Lagos this January. The move was applauded by Tony Elumelu, group managing director at United Bank of Africa, who said the bureau would allow banks to co-operate and co-ordinate better to ensure a more conducive environment for borrowers and lenders to transact.

The bureau has been set up by a consortium of banks including Intercontinental Bank, StanbicIBTC, Standard Chartered and United Bank for Africa, and was created in partnership with consultants Accenture and Dun & Bradstreet, a UK-based business information company.

In the long-term, the establishment of credit bureaux may allow banks to extend the provision of credit to a wider cross-section of the population in the country, counterbalancing the deleveraging which has been expected in the economy since the financial crisis.

Banks generally require collateral against credit cards at around 120% of the credit limit. Annual fees typically hover around NGN30-50 for standard cards and NGN100 for premium products. The majority of the products are denominated in US dollars.

 

Helping to combat fraud

Debit card usage has grown far more quickly than credit cards in Nigeria, helped in part by the formation of the domestic debit Interswitch scheme. The programme has a standard range of functions at the POS and ATM. It can also be used online on websites which accept the payment brand.

Interswitch debit is issued by 23 of the 24 retail banks in the country.

Nigeria’s reputation for financial fraud – which developed as a result of a number of email and internet scams targeting people overseas – was addressed initially in 2005, when the CBN issued a mandate for all banks to implement EMV technology by 2008. The call came after Valucard, a smaller domestic debit scheme, implemented a co-branded EMV debit solution with Visa called VPay in 2004.

The migration is still underway and by mid-2009, 6m Verve cards (Interswitch’s EMV-compliant product, which also features an in-built loyalty product) had been issued. According to the Nilson Report, it has around 20.8m PIN-based ATM cards and 8m prepaid cards carrying its Cashcard prepaid brand.

Kyari Bukar, CEO of Valucard, the exclusive acquiring partner for Visa in the country, claimed last year that the Interswitch solution is not fully EMV compliant. Although the Interswitch product uses a MasterCard chip and its Verve cards can be used in some other African countries, they cannot be used worldwide, which is one of the tenets of the EMV standard implemented by Europay, MasterCard and Visa.

Interswitch is also the country’s largest processor and switching entity and is owned by a number of the country’s banks as well as consultancies Accenture and TechInvest. It processed 406m card transactions in 2009.

 

Nigerian ATMs: ATM transactions – first half 2006-2009 valuePrepaid cards

The prepaid industry in Nigeria is small but growing relatively quickly, according to Nigerian bank executives interviewed by CI. While many were unwilling to give exact details on the numbers of cards in their portfolios, anecdotal evidence suggested issuance was increasing across the market at around 20% year-on-year.

As in other markets, senior cards professionals view prepaid as a beneficial way of expanding their customer base with fewer due diligence requirements than with other products.

Account opening procedures on credit cards are particularly strict in Nigeria. In addition to providing employment and salary confirmation, non-bank customers require items including utility bills and three months’ worth of bank statements.

Prepaid cards, although banks are still required to fulfil Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, are seen as an easier means of acquiring customers who can then be cross-sold other banking products. They are also seen as a good way of facilitating internet spending and harnessing the opportunity of e-commerce among the 23.9m internet users (World Bank, 2008 figures) in the country.

This is where MasterCard- or Visa-branded prepaid cards have an advantage, because most of the debit cards issued in Nigeria are offered under the domestic Interswitch brand, which does not have widespread international acceptance. Interswitch also has a prepaid proposition called CashCard, which is issued by the leading Nigerian bank in prepaid, Intercontinental Bank, and Oceanic Bank.

As prepaid cards have started to gain in popularity – it is estimated there are around 8m in issue in Nigeria currently – they have prompted a new set of guidelines from the CBN.

There is evidence that some banks which previously offered magnetic stripe-based prepaid cards on the Interswitch brand have been phasing out the products in favour of the international brands as the country has switched to EMV.

Only banks or financial institutions licensed by the central bank are permitted to issue the products following a new set of rules introduced in February 2010.

In addition, the CBN stipulated that only one stored-value prepaid card per person could be distributed per issuer. The maximum amount loaded is not allowed to exceed NGN20,000 on any one day, and there is an upper limit of NGN250,000. In dollar terms, the CBN said the most that could be stored on a prepaid card is $5,000 per quarter.

The Nigerian government provided another boost to prepaid recently when it said that by the end of 2010, all businesses with more than 50 employees would be required to make salary and pension payments via direct deposit instead of cash. Zenith Bank and Intercontinental are the only banks CI is aware of that have so far launched prepaid payroll accounts, which both have chosen to run on the Interswitch platform. The CBN decision is also likely to drive debit usage.

 

ATMs and POS

Given that the first interbank ATM transaction was conducted in Nigeria just seven years ago, in October 2003, it is perhaps not surprising that card usage has been slow to develop.

Cheques, traditionally the most popular form of payment after cash, have shown a marked decline over the past few years as electronic payment has begun to take off.

Figures from the Central Bank of Nigeria show that, as of June 2009, the number of cheques cleared amounted to 12.7m for a value of NGN14.9trn, down by 28.5% and 33.8% respectively, thanks to the recent central bank and government mandate for salaries and pension payments to be made through bank accounts, and the proliferation of ATM terminals and debit cards.

There are just 10,500 POS terminals and 8,500 ATMs in Nigeria, but their rapid proliferation is helping to drive stellar growth rates for all forms of electronic payment. As of the end of 2008 there were around 28m payment cards in issue in Nigeria, with 27.7m being debit cards. Card usage continues to gain significant traction, with the volume and value of transactions in 2008 standing at 66.1m and NGN441.6bn, or a rise of 273% and 196.9% respectively compared to 2007.

It is ATM transactions that comprise the overwhelming majority of e-payments in Nigeria, representing 80% of all e-payment transactions in terms of volume and 84.5% in terms of value as of June 2009. Usage of ATM transactions amounted to 49.6m and NGN285.8bn for the period, a staggering rise of 162.1% and 99.5% respectively from June 2008.

Another factor driving ATM transactions is that several banks in Nigeria have reduced the amount that customers can withdraw over the bank branch counter to a maximum of NGN60,000, which is forcing customers to use ATMs with greater frequency.

Understandably, Nigerian banks have focused much of their attention on delivering services through the ATM channel and are busy deploying off-site ATMs in both urban and rural areas. As of the end of 2008, over 6,000 ATMs had already been deployed since 2005, making Nigeria one of the fastest-growing ATM markets in the world.

 

Nigerian internet users: Online internet usersKey issuers

United Bank of Africa

United Bank of Africa (UBA) is a full-service bank present in 16 African countries as well as the UK, US and France and has around 13,000 staff. Its business is divided into UBA Capital, its investment banking and wealth management business, UBA Global Consumer Banking, which includes cards, consumer finance, a microfinance bank and other retail product lines, and UBA Institutional Banking, which manages its relationships with global financial institutions.

UBA has 7.7m customer accounts, according to its 2009 annual report, which covers the 15 months to December 2009. It also has the largest distribution network in Nigeria, with 711 branches and retail outlets, 1,635 ATMs and 1,230 POS machines.

It had 8.4m cards in issue at the end of 2008 across all 16 countries, the most recent information on its card portfolio available. The number increased 29%, from 6.6m in 2007. The cards business is part of the bank’s global consumer banking business which has around 255 staff.

UBA is active in the prepaid market, through the launch of an Arsenal-branded debit and prepaid offering in May 2008, which is linked to a number of Arsenal-related loyalty reward options including autographed items and memorabilia. It also offers an e-wallet solution in partnership with the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, a product which the bank is trying to promote as a tourist payment solution.

On the debit side, it has a chip-enabled Visa dual currency card, which was the first international debit card in Nigeria, and can carry the Nigerian naira as well as a number of other international currencies.

UBA also has plans to launch a debit card product for its microfinance customers.

It offers a corporate e-product called U-Pay, which provides businesses with a platform to carry out functions including human resources, salary processing and payment.

It claims to have a 24.1% market share in the number of card transactions processed, a 10% market share in the value of acquired POS transactions and a 27.6% share of web-acquired transactions by value.

The bank’s CEO is Tony Elumelu.

 

Ecobank

Ecobank is the second-largest credit card issuer in Nigeria and distributes its products through 28 affiliate businesses. They can be used in 665 ATMs across the country and 800 POS devices.

Ecobank claims to have the largest coverage of any processor in Africa and is being linked to the Nedbank switch in South Africa and other switches across Africa.

As has been discussed, credit card loans form a relatively small%age of overall lending and card usage among Nigerian banks and consumers. Ecobank is a good example of this, with credit cards making up around 3% of loans to customers and 1% of gross loans to customers.

Its total unimpaired loan credit card portfolio was $29.6m in December 2009, up less than 1% from 29.5m the previous year.

Total loans and advances to customers in Ecobank’s credit card business was $52.4m in 2009, down 56.8% from $121.2m in 2008.

 

Zenith Bank

Zenith Bank’s main card product is its Etranzact card which can be used for online, point of sale and purchases via mobile phone. The card can be Visa or MasterCard branded and offers a period of up to 45 days interest free. It has a classic, gold and platinum offering, and was the first to introduce the Visa dual currency card which is also now issued by UBA.

Its debit card portfolio is MasterCard-branded, as is its charge card product, which operates like a credit card but requires customers to provide the bank with collateral.

In prepaid, it offers three products. The first is MasterCard Websurfer, a reloadable card used exclusively for internet payments. Its two Visa products are a personalised international Visa card and a BUXZ instant issuance Visa card which is a generic card which can be purchased instantly at any branch.

Zenith also offers a 20/20 reloadable card for which customers pay a NGN20 fee for every load and a NGN20 fee whenever it used at an ATM, though this product is being phased out. On the corporate side, it also has a corporate prepaid card solution for salary payments.

The bank was also one of the first to deploy a text alert system. Every time a customer withdraws cash from an ATM or makes a POS transaction, an SMS is sent to their mobile phone. The bank introduced the technology in 2005.

 

Intercontinental

Intercontinental Bank was bailed out by the Nigerian government in August 2009 and appointed Mahmoud Lai Alabi as its new managing director after the bank’s top management was sacked.

The bailout was part of an NGN400bn bailout of the banking sector, which also included capital injections into Afribank, Finbank, Oceanic Bank and Union Bank.

Prior to the financial crisis, the bank was growing its cards business strongly, with active debit and cash cards at Intercontinental growing by 228% and 269% respectively in 2008.

It rebranded its platinum and gold MasterCard products to offer “more robust features for the elite target market”.

In mobile banking, Intercontinental offers two services. The first is a multi-channel card which can be used physically and virtually via GSM mobile phones, web and ATM machines to make payments for bills and make international transfers within West Africa and the UK. The second is I-Cash, which can perform money transfers to account and non-account holders via mobile phone.

The bank is working on introducing corporate and government card solutions for the payment of salaries, benefits and even school fees. It is also migrating from magnetic stripe cards to chip cards, in compliance with central bank directives.

 

Access Bank

Since October 2007, Access Bank has offered Visa classic, gold and platinum credit cards, and has issued over 40,000 with a target of 100,000 cardholders by the end of 2009.

In 2009, Access Bank became one of the first banks in the country to roll out a Visa Infinite ‘Black’ credit card, offered to elite customers by invitation only.

The card, which has an APR of 29% and a minimum $30,000 credit limit, comes with a 24/7 concierge service, travel insurance, purchase warranties and access to over 600 airport VIP lounges around the world, along with special offers related to travel, leisure and events.

 

Prepaid: Nigeria – selected prepaid product offerings

 

 

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