Earlier today we published our speculations on the extent to which First Bank could possibly be partnering with PayPal in Nigeria. As it turns out, there is a partnership. Just not as involved as we were led to believe by the hype.

Here’s what really happend. First Bank has just signed a partnership with PayPal that enables account holders to access PayPal right from their Internet banking portal. First Bank customers do not have to worry about verifying their PayPal account as verification is automatic.

First Bank executives speaking at the event cited a number of motivating factors that influenced the exclusive  handshake. First Bank is reported to control 30% bank accounts in Nigeria. Last year, First Bank ATMs dispensed 1.7 trillion Naira, more than the whole industry dispensed in 2011. First Bank accounts for more than 40 per cent of active Interswitch debit cards — the bank says 90% of them are active. Also, the bank’s mobile money offering, FirstMonie has signed up 1.5m users.

The Paypal partnership will also allow First Bank card holders and businesses enjoy increased transaction limits, receive instant verifications, make  online payments and transfer funds across the world in 193 countries and regions globally.

So no, P2P payments and local merchant support are not part of the deal right now, although the bank promised to work on achieving that in coming months. Interestingly, First Bank is also working to get PayPal to accept their local Verve cards. Currently only Visa and Master cards are accepted by PayPal in Nigeria. There are currently 18 million Verve cards in Nigeria, 35% of which are issued by First Bank.

Muyiwa Matuluko Author

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