This is the last in a series of Q&As with local payment operators on their views on the significance potential effects of PayPal’s entry into the Nigerian space.
eTranzact is a multi-channel e-transaction switching and payment processing platform with presence in at least 4 other countries besides Nigeria, including the UK.
Ike Eze is the Executive Director, Strategy and Corporate Development at eTranzact. He corresponded with TechCabal for this piece. Some of the comments have been lightly redacted for clarity.
Would you say PayPal’s entry into the Nigerian/African market will have any impact on the local payments space?
It is too early to tell – however if Paypal had entered a few years earlier when we were trying to build out the payments space in Nigeria, then it might have been easier to say.
In the payments space, we take a look at ubiquity, which means you can do payments for 100 percent of Nigerians on mobile, using USSD, SMS, GPRS/lnternet. We think with the low internet penetration, you need all these to reach the market.
Over the years, we have watched as several payment companies, some local and others international, set their sights on the Nigerian payments space without a full understanding of the needs of the space, and have subsequently departed the market.
We have been heavily focused on building what we believe is the infrastructure and backbone of what the Nigerian payments space requires to fully explode, and with the growth of several new sectors, we are finally at that place where we can begin to enjoy the dividends of what we have built for payments in Nigeria.
PayPal’s entry into the space possibly heralds the entry of other international payment services like Stripe and Square. How prepared is eTranzact for this potential “onslaught” ?
We are the number one advocate for financial inclusion and improved access for Nigerians and we continue to hold these values, looking for ways to help champion this. Every product we build is ultimately about the customer whether at the corporate or individual level and we want to ensure that we are meeting those needs both locally and globally, pushing ourselves every day.
We are not just a payment company, we are an ecosystem: we transport money in electronic form from the origin (government or business), through the system (banks), to the end user and ultimately to the vendors (POS and other payment mechanisms).
We understand the part we play and through constructive feedback, want to continue to play this role now and in the future.
Should PayPal eventually include the ability to receive payments, it arguably presents a great advantage for local merchants, considering the zero financial barrier to entry. This is something that cannot be said of most local payment services. What is eTranzact doing to address this and what are the challenges so far?
What a platform chooses to do is dependent on their immediate and future goals for expansion. Sometimes companies simply react to public outcry by acting out change, while other times they truly adapt to the needs of that society, and this time everyone will have to wait to see which one this is.
Economies of scale and legislation are two big factors that affect pricing of any product in any part of the world and this is something that is considered by any payment player globally when entering new markets. Hidden charges/high commissions are also things that a lot of people overlook when doing their comparative analysis of products/services, and these are some of the things that we eliminate for the consumer.
Today we offer some of the lowest rates and best customer support in the marketplace and in the next few months we will be in an even better position to drive the growth of businesses in Nigeria, Africa and the world, with several global products in the pipeline.
Currently, we are in partnership with almost every Nigerian university, government parastatal, bank, retail company, etc, providing customized solutions to match their budgets and scale. We also have a team that is working with incubators and SMEs to ensure deeper integration and customization for them.
Will eTranzact be open to deeper collaboration with local developers to produce better integrated payment systems that will operate at the standard of global payment systems like PayPal?
Collaboration is key to the growth and development of better integrated payment systems for Nigeria.
We are currently working hand-in-hand with different developer/technology groups to truly achieve this goals, and we believe this next phase will see a lot more collaboration with local developers who are charged up to deliver truly world class solutions for Nigeria.
Our CEO is excited about innovation, our team is in a new stage of evolution and we operate an open door policy which we hope will encourage interaction with more members of the ecosystem.
We believe web is the new offline and mobile is the new online, and understanding this fact we have been pushing through on several interesting projects that have and will continue to put the power of payments in the hands of the average Nigerian. With our PocketMoni app and other products which have received tremendous traction, we believe we are on to something Nigerians can truly be proud of and would use at any level globally.
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