By Emmanuel Uffot
Customers of Ecobank have applauded the Pan-African bank for its innovative end of year services which they found rewarding and beneficial to them during the past yuletide period. Most of the customers who are in business particularly singled out the Ecobankpay through which the bank had offered special discount for shoppers using the Ecobankpay option to pay for their goods and services during the yuletide.
George last name withheld a customer of the bank who is a business man, said the services was of immensed benefit to him as he was able to carry out some seamless transactions within the period.
Ecobankpay is a most convenient digital QR code that enables payments using the mobile phone, without the need for a plastic card. The uniqueness of the EcobankPay is that it has MasterPass, MVisa and Mcash embedded in the merchant identity QR Code. This enables each customer to transact across the three platforms not minding the bank cards he/she is holding.
While announcing the special offer weeks back to institute the customer friendly service, Ecobank Head of Commercial Banking, Rotimi Morohunfola had said that shoppers who use the Ecobankpay were to get special discounts in select shops in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Aba where the Ecobankpay QR code is on display.
He had explained that Ecobankpay QR code accepts all the three payment platforms available, namely MasterPass, MVisa and Mcash. “ if the person that wishes to buy goods from you is coming from a bank that has MVisa and wishes to pay, the same QRcode would accept an MVisa payment and vice versa. That creates interoperability and convenience for the merchants and as you know, the QRcode is much cheaper than having a point of sale (PoS)”.
Under the Ecobankpay service as explained by Mr Morohunfola the beauty of the service to traders and business merchants was in the cost of setting up as the shop owner simply print the QR code on a paper and can stick it anywhere and do not run any risks. Another benefit of the product was its convenient as the mobile app allows the customer the ubiquity of 24/7 access and is affordable for every Nigeria. ‘When you are a merchant and we on-board you on EcobankPay, you will automatically have a QR code that accepts all the three payment platforms – MasterPass, MVisa and Mcash’.
The Ecobank Pay QR offering, or Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), a one stop platform across 33 countries in Africa where Ecobank is present, allow customers, of any bank in Nigeria or beyond, to make payments for goods and services, using their mobile banking app to Scan+Pay with MasterPass, Visa or mCash as the means of payment. mCash allows merchants to receive payments from their customers on one single Merchant Terminal ID for both Scan+Pay and USSD through the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) mCash service by dialing *402#.
For both Ecobank Pay Scan+Pay (via MasterPass and Visa) as well as USSD, merchants will receive instant credit on their account with Ecobank. This digital payment solution is targeted at small informal micro merchants, registered small and medium size merchant businesses, corporate and institutional merchants operating in-store or online, as well utilising the social media platform of Facebook Messenger to sign up for QR technology.
Apart from the Ecobankpay which the bank deployed to customers during the last yuletide period, the bank had also introduced regular banking services to its customers during the holidays and weekends through its Xpress Points.
The special services had availed customers the platform to access basic banking services even after regular banking hours.
According to the Executive Director, Consumer Banking, Carol Oyedeji, the Xpress points were designed to ensure members of the public carry out their financial transactions such as deposits, withdrawals and account opening at the outlets during the public holidays and weekends. According to her it was part of the bank’s distribution strategy to take banking service right to the door-step of the customer.
She noted that , “Ecobank Xpress points are to complement our digital channels. They are essentially targeted at providing our customers, the unbanked and underbanked the opportunity to access banking services through retail outlets, fuel service stations, neighbourhood shops and other convenient places across the country. They are a fantastic option on all weekends and public holidays when conventional banks usually close their doors. We wish to encourage our customers to explore this opportunity during this Yuletide season.”
Oyedeji further explained that the Xpress point, is an aspect of agency banking in line with the financial inclusion strategy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), adding that it is in furtherance of the Ecobank’s vision of building a Pan African Banking Institution that contributes to the economic development and financial Integration of Africa.
In her words ”Ecobank is determined to extend the reach of its banking services to customers in remote and rural locations with its agency banking initiative. To deliver our strategy of reaching 100 million customers by 2020, we have created innovative platforms, products and services, which are already serving a much larger customer base. These agent locations will support some of the innovative services we have introduced to the market such as Xpress Cash, which allows customers to withdraw cash at Automated Teller Machines without their cards and to transfer within and across 33 countries via the Ecobank Mobile App.”
The Pan-African Bank which now has Patrick Akinwuntan as the MD/CEO who was appointed July 2018 has presence in over 30 countries beside Nigeria.