Lagos, 6th October 2016 – RedCloud Technologies announces agreement with Innovectives LLC to provide Agency Banking technology to Nigerian banks, mobile money operators and other financial institutions.

RedCloud Technologies – an Enterprise Software provider of leading mobile financial services technology – announces an agreement with Innovectives LLC for the deployment of its Cloud Based solution for ‘Agency Banking’ in Nigeria alongside their partner TSI Global Technologies.

Nigeria’s move to enhance financial inclusion (set by the Central Bank of Nigeria) includes issuing 1 of 2 licences to ‘Innovectives Limited’. Operating as ‘Super Agents’ within the financial system, Innovectives will deploy, operate and manage interoperable agency banking and mobile financial payment networks as approved by the Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN) with selected retail outlets operating as agents under the framework.

Innovectives have an existing network of over 1000 agents made up of small to well established institutions including retailers, petrol stations, and service providers. They have the goal to reach thousands more over the next 3 to 5 years in order to achieve their vision of being the leading integrated Fintech company contributing at least 30% of their market.

According to the World Bank, the ten countries with one of the highest proportion of residents living unbanked in extreme poverty are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. Even remotely, mobile financial usage is more widespread than having a bank account.

RedCloud’s collaboration with Innovectives will enable Nigerian banks, mobile operators and other financial institutions to grow their business and improve

customer experience in the market by reaching users in remote areas, offering customer registration and giving over-the-counter customer financial transactions (including utility bill payment, airtime top-up and other innovative financial services).

The RedCloud One platform will connect to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to access all licensed banks and financial service providers in Nigeria and provide complete interoperability to Innovectives network of agents.
RedCloud is supported by its local partner TSI Global Technologies for integration, deployment and support services. TSI Global Technologies has already helped many Financial Institutions in the area of integration and its core operations. Its consultants have been involved in a number of Apex banks integration in the sub- region.

Katia Hill RedCloud’s COO commented: “Being able to align ourselves with an organisation like Innovectives truly supports our commitment to enable banks to

reach more customers and offer innovative and convenient financial services. This cooperation is a stepping stone for RedCloud in Nigeria, where much is still to be made for financial inclusion.”

The benefits to Agency Banking in Nigeria include removing intermediary agents as well as speeding up processes and waiting periods. The reduction in cumbersome processes gives greater levels of global flexibility and efficiency in day to day operations as well as improving bank’s global profile, status and presence.

Emmanuel Agha, Innovectives’ Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Our choice for RedCloud was based on their proven expertise in financial services and ‘Agents management’ in emerging markets. Their product readiness, flexibility and configurability allow us to deploy our services throughout our agent’s networks and set-up tailored agent hierarchy and fees management to suit the specificities of our business.”

About RedCloud

RedCloud Technologies – headquartered in London – develops technology built for what is often termed as the Fourth industrial revolution where finance meets the internet, enabling the access of highly secure digital financial services at fast speed and low cost.

The Award-Winning Platform – RedCloud One – built by the technology team behind M-Pesa, facilitates a ‘plug and play’ infrastructure to deliver innovative services including ‘Agency Banking’ and ‘Banking as a Platform’.

About Innovectives LLC

Innovectives, an integrated Fintech company, is a MasterCard Payment Facilitator, UnionPay Third Party Processor, licensed Super-Agent and Payment Aggregator as well as a certified mobile Point of Sale solution provider.

Innovectives facilitates digital, mobile and e-payment services between all Customer Business, Citizen and Government transactions across Africa.

About TSI Global Technologies

TSI Global focuses on IT Solutions that satisfy the unique needs of multiple sectors of Nigeria and Sub Sahara including – but not limited to – Finance, Telecommunication and Utilities.

TSI Global Technologies was established as a complete solution organization in IT. TSI Global Technologies Limited has a core reputation for professionalism and commitment to its customers, with their experience in the financial Industry making this venture familiar terrain for TSI Global.

Innovectives, MasterCard, UBA boost Konga e-Commerce with Kesh mPOS Solution

kesh. (5)NIBSS’ certified mobile point of sale [mPOS] service provider, Innovectives, in conjunction with MasterCard and United Bank for Africa (UBA) have collaborated with Konga, Nigeria’s leading e-commerce company to create a seamless delivery and payment system by integrating mPOS solution into Konga’s delivery system. Payments on mPOS are 100% secure. It is accepted on all local and international cards.

The Kesh mPOS, which is powered by Innovectives, and supported by MasterCard and UBA will make it easier for Konga customers to pay for their orders and enhance payment acceptance while making reconciliation easy for Konga customers and sales agents.

The new mPOS will accept MasterCard, Visa and Verve cards from all banks, and it enables Konga delivery agents to easily capture sales. Other cards accepted on mPOS are UnionPay, Freedom Card and Genesis cards. Customers can also confirm payments on the spot thus improving accountability in e-commerce transactions.

Divisional Head, Digital Banking, UBA, Dr. Yinka Adedeji explained that Konga delivery would be able to accept payments from a phone like POS terminal. “UBA is powering this with its advanced digital payments technology.”

MD/CEO of Innovectives, Emmanuel Agha, said: “The level of e-commerce transactions conducted in Nigeria in the past three years has increased exponentially but the challenge is that 95% of the transactions are pay-on-delivery, which are largely settled with cash. Our mPOS solution is designed to improve the delivery process and reduce cash handling in the entire order fulfilment process as well as make reconciliation seamless”.

He added that the company has partnered with Konga and integrated the innovative payment solution because it offers Nigerians who are increasingly shopping online sheer convenience. MPOS offers a significant improvement in transparency in the way customers pay for their goods.

Konga has adopted convenient, cutting edge and secure payment solutions to reduce cash handling and enhance the shopping experience for its customers.

Innovectives unveils SmartPesa mPoS for Nigerian Market

Innovectives_Instant IssuanceInnovectives Limited, Nigeria’s provider of secure and affordable transaction channels for the un-banked and under- banked public has launched SmartPesa, its mobile point of sales (mPOS) terminal into Nigeria market.

After two years of intensive process, National Inter- Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) has certified SmartPesa mPoS for the Nigerian market. SmartPesa mPoS enables an existing banking network to be mobile, flexible and extensible at very low cost.

In a statement issued by the company, Innovectives’ Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Emmanuel Agha, SmartPesa mPoS works with existing banks, not against them, and so does not have the problems that plague proprietary mobile money solutions such as opening special accounts, reliance on customer behavioural changes and unclear legal/regulatory frameworks. “Cards are here to stay: with over 20% per annum growth, cards continue to be seen to be the workhorse of banking and payments around the world,” he noted.

While listing the key benefits of the SmartPesa platform, Agha said its provides a low cost alternative to tradition PoS solutions. According to him, it immediately provides all the benefits of a traditional Point of Sale (POS) solution at less than 20% of the cost. The platform can be quickly extended to include functions traditionally handled at branches and ATM’s such as balance enquiries, cheque deposits, and transfers at well less than 1% of the cost. Support costs are also significantly lower since distribution of devices can be through retail stores, ordinary mail or branch offices and faulty hardware can be immediately swapped out locally.

On security and compatibility, he explained that with EMV Level 2 compliance in hardware, SmartPesa supports the highest level of payment security (Chip&PIN) and can accept all local and international cards; that’s over hundreds of millions of cards globally. The platform can quickly incorporate new technologies including NFC and be integrated into existing applications through its Software Development Kit (SDK). The system is compatible with over 97% of current smartphones in use, including most low cost smartphones and commonly available tablets.SmartPesa

In addition, Agha said the platform was designed to be implemented in a financial institution’s existing data centre alongside the existing payment infrastructure (e.g. HSM, Switch). Transactions do not need to go to a 3rd party datacentre thus maximising transaction speed whilst there is no risk of data leakage to 3rd parties. Conformance to PCI-DSS guidelines ensures all banking and privacy regulation are satisfied from the start. Besides, he disclosed that the platform can be quickly extended beyond simple payments to include bill payment, agency banking and 3rd party services (e.g. airtime, ticketing).

Furthermore, unlike traditional POS devices, SmartPesa can update all devices to support future local and international cards, loyalty schemes or integrated inventory systems. Updates are done remotely and do not require costly hardware recalls or customer visits.

He said that company is finalizing on a robust national rollout plans with its partner banks and card payment scheme.

Financial Inclusion: Innovectives Inks Agent Deal with Informal Workers Body  

FINWON 2Innovectives has appointed the Federation of Informal Workers of Nigeria (FIWON) as an agent for the purposes of rendering approved services to the customers of financial institutions within their defined area. With this transaction, FIWON would on behalf of Innovectives, engage in customer sourcing, customer transactions and marketing of financial products to its 65 million members and the public.

FIWON is the umbrella body to over 65 million working people in the country. The informal economy are made up of self-employed workers, contributing family members and those moving from one form of jobs or location to another.

Innovectives is licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN] as a Super-Agent to provide agent-banking services to customers of deposit money banks and mobile money operators in Nigeria.

He said they are also some of those who are engaged in new flexible work arrangements and “who have found themselves at the periphery of the core enterprise or at the lowest end of the production value chain”.

Launched in 2010 in Abuja, FIWON is a coalition of over 200 organizations of informal workers drawn from 21 states of the federation. It has evolved as a common platform based on shared problems and aspirations of millions of working people, providing an important democratic space on the basis of which private, public, social sector partnerships could be forged to address urgent human and development problems that affect majority of working Nigerians especially in the informal economy.

According to figures from the statistics office, workers in the informal sectors of the economy constitute over 80% of the non-agricultural employment. While 60% of urban employment and over 90% of new jobs make up an estimated population of over 65 million working people, these are absent from decision-making processes, and are largely subject to policy inconsistency and arbitrariness.

At the contract signing ceremony, MD/CEO, Innovectives, Emmanuel Agha, said the company’s financial inclusion strategy would ensure that all categories of informal workers in Nigeria have affordable access to financial services through this agent network run by their members.

“Our suite of services will address critical social challenges of informal workers such as, saving culture, access to credit, wage payment, health insurance, informal pension, dues payment and collection, thrift and credit; and conventional financial services such as funds transfer, withdrawals, deposits, purchase of goods and services, bills payment and airtime top-up.”

Secretary General, FIWON, Comrade Gbenga Komolafe who signed the contract on behalf of the body expressed understanding of the financial inclusion, and that it has become one of the highest policy priorities in the world of finance, as it is important for Africa because a large swathe of economic actors remains outside the formal economy.

He said the body would work closely with Innovectives to drive a policy of inclusiveness and empowerment of its members with access to critical financial services such as credit facilities and health insurance scheme.

Financial inclusion:  CBN licenses Innovectives as Super-Agent  

Innovectices Agency BankingThe Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has granted an approval-in-principle [AIP] to Innovectives, a leading provider of secure and affordable transaction channels for the un-banked and under-banked members of the public, to operate as a Super-Agent in the Nigerian financial services system.

With this license, Innovectives would leverage on the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System [NIBSS]’ switching infrastructure to enable inter-scheme Cash-In-Cash-Out (CICO) at all its agent locations.

MD and CEO of Innovectives, Emmanuel Agha, said the CBN expects the company and its partners to deploy, operate, and manage a robust, efficient, interoperable agency banking and mobile financial payment network with selected retail outlets operating as agents under the framework as approved by the CBN.

According to the CBN  Regulatory Framework for licensing Super-Agents in Nigeria, the Super-Agents shall be responsible for monitoring and supervising the activities of the agents; have information on the volume and value of transactions carried out for each type of service by each agent.

The CBN said this volume and value of transactions should be made available to the principal; monitor effective compliance with set limits and establish other prudential measures in each case and take all other measures such as onsite visits and ensure that agents operate strictly within the requirements of the law, guidelines and the contract.

The apex said the AIP is not transferable and is valid for a period of six months, effectively from February 19, 2016 to August 18, 2016, after which a review of performance would be conducted to determine if the super-agent should be awarded a full license.

He explained that its company’s financial inclusion strategy “is to ensure that all categories of informal workers in Nigeria have access to affordable financial services through its agent network”.

He added that the proposed suite of services would address critical social challenges of informal workers such as saving culture, access to credit, wage payment, health insurance, and informal pension.

Other services the company would roll out include dues payment and collection, thrift and credit, conventional financial services such as funds transfer, withdrawals, deposits, purchase of goods and services, bills payment and airtime top-up among others.

TSA enhancing autonomy, research, transparency in tertiary institutions

At no point in the history of contemporary Nigeria has government been able to fully account for all its funds, at once, from a single consolidated view, until now. Thanks to the Treasury Single Account, TSA, which makes this possible. The TSA initiative is not only to the advantage of the federal government and its agencies, but to the benefit of the entire Nigerian populace. This informs why the news story, “TSA killing autonomy, research – varsity, poly unions lament”, featured on page 39 of Punch newspaper of Wednesday 27 January, 2015 is considered quite unreflective of the true situation of things.

The story ran on the notion that TSA is largely to the detriment of higher institutions of learning in Nigeria. The story also claimed that TSA has denied our higher institutions of the autonomy they supposedly enjoyed in the past.

In as much as one appreciates the position of the scholars, one bets to disagree with them. TSA has not denied any higher institution (or even any MDA) of its autonomy, neither has it restricted their access to endowments and grants. The main changes TSA introduced into the operations of MDAs, including tertiary institutions, are that they should hold all their accounts at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), instead of holding them in commercial banks; that payments should be made electronically from these accounts directly into beneficiary accounts in commercial banks and other financial entities; and that all revenues and receipts of MDAs are paid into their accounts held at the CBN.

In specific terms, most publicly-owned tertiary institutions have accounts opened in their names at the CBN, and only the authorised signatories within these institutions are able to initiate, approve and consummate payment transactions, as long as the transactions are within the normal government accounting guidelines. There is no need for any institution to seek additional authorisation from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) or the CBN before making payments from these accounts. In addition, the MDA can now collect revenue via multiple channels such as point of sales [PoS], banks, debit and credit cards and mobile wallets, directly into its accounts.

In contrast to the position assumed by the scholars interviewed for the above story, TSA places the control of funds firmly in the hands of the management of tertiary institutions. One must also add that educational institutions are allowed to hold Project Accounts with the CBN, for the purpose of managing their external grants and third-party collaborations. All they need to do is to apply to OAGF for such accounts to be opened for them at the CBN. This level of transparency and security, which TSA brings, should in fact attract partners and robust funding for our tertiary institutions.

Also, the CBN payment gateway used for managing the TSA provides secure access to the funds, and permits full transaction tracking and visibility. With this in place, it has become increasingly difficult for any institution of government to play “Santa” with monies in its trust. Rather that bury their heads in the sand, our tertiary institutions should embrace and get schooled on the workings of TSA, and how they can improve its usage to better harness their institutions’ resources.

Mr. Usman Dutse inferred that TSA is responsible for the late disbursement of TETFund: The most likely cause of the late disbursement of TETFund is the panic of commercial banks who—unwilling to let go of the funds, primarily because of the interest accruing from it, and in collusion with the institutions—waited till the eleventh hour to transfer the funds to the CBN in compliance with long-standing directives. In the process, on the wee hour of the last day, some banks are believed to have transferred funds into the wrong accounts, and now face the challenges of reconciling on behalf of MDAs.

The position that TSA is responsible for the late payment of salaries is untrue. The availability of the federal government’s share of the monthly Federation Account Allocation is a major factor in the timing of the payment of federal government salaries. This timing can only be helped by TSA which quickly makes government funds available in government accounts at the CBN from where salaries are paid, instead of being stuck in commercial banks.

One of the interviewees for the news story, ASUU Coordinator (Ibadan zone), Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, admitted that “the TSA is a very good policy. Its advantages far outweigh its disadvantages, especially when it concerns government bureaucracies.” If this is indeed true, shouldn’t we be looking for ways to make it better, instead of clamouring for whole scale disbandment or subversive waivers that have jeopardised similar national interests in the past?

The implementation of TSA started four years ago under the Jonathan-led administration. In its wake, a series of stakeholder workshops were organised by OAGF to engage affected parties. MDAs had the opportunity to make representations to guide its delivery, including how TSA can be implemented to augment their operations. However, many MDAs believed that the scheme would never come to fruition and, so, did not give the required attention.

Others decided to challenge the policy and sought to be exempted from TSA on spurious grounds. Unfortunately, many tertiary institutions took this path and were caught in the hop when the Buhari administration mandated the full implementation of TSA in September 2015.

In countries around the world, government-owned institutions are not allowed to keep funds in commercial banks. However, in Nigeria, we have become addicted to this practice. The banks trade with these funds with no benefits, whatsoever accruing to government. Whereas, it is widely known that direct benefits usually accrue to some members of the management of the institutions for keeping such funds in commercial banks. Could this be why some people want the practice to continue?

It is reported that, before the full implementation of TSA, federal government agencies operated about 20,000 accounts with commercial banks. Some of these accounts were merely opened in the name of the MDAs, but were not fully documented, were operated independent of the MDA, and were sometimes ‘lost’ when there was any change in management. To whom did the interests that accrued in the passage of time go? To the government? No! TSA has blocked this loophole, which hitherto facilitated unprecedented thefts and mindless corruption, even in our ivory towers.

The salaries of workers in our public higher institutions are paid by the federal government, so are their pensions, their running cost and their emoluments. The agitation of the union leaders interviewed for the said news story could be interpreted to mean that they would want to enjoy so much benefit from government, but are unwelcoming to transparency.

They must note that government only wants them to be accountable for the monies they get; government does not want to spend it on their behalf. It is either they need to be better informed; have intentionally closed their eyes to the truth; or are too accustomed to the old regime of free money and uncurbed access to slush funds, in which transparency was literally non-existent. Universities and polytechnics are important entities of the Nigerian state but are not bigger than the nation.

AFRICA IS READY FOR SMARTPESA MOBILE POINT OF SALE SOLUTION

SmartPesa_600x300

The licensing and deployment of mobile financial services in Nigeria was expected to create a significant impact in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) push for financial inclusion for most Nigerians and a cashless society. However, available information point to the fact that traction is yet to be gained by most of the mobile financial solutions deployed in the country. Solutions deployed by banks only focus on a small percentage of their already existing customers, while privately driven solutions are more of less virtual airtime vending solutions and fewer m-commerce transactions.

Currently, the cashless initiative of the CBN is geared to change the dynamics in the Nigerian payment space. The economy is still significantly cash based. The various challenges that have dogged the cashless Nigeria project are not limited to mobile financial platforms but had been witnessed in the rolling out of point of sales (POS) terminals.

Smartphones, cell phones and other mobile devices are increasingly becoming a central part of everyday life. This evolution of mobile phones in the ever-developing financial services sector in Africa has undoubtedly made the mobile phone a veritable tool for trade and other financial services.

Retailing in Nigeria has also continued to expand owing to strong growth in the value of sales, increase in the population and increase in disposable income among some segments in the population. Besides in-store selling, there has also been an increase in online selling due to increased  ownership of computers, cheaper and easier access to the internet and the new government policy promoting ‘CASHLESS’ shopping. The huge number of these retail outlets spread across various parts of Nigeria presents a potential business opportunity for the mPOS which seems even better than the already existing traditional POS.

Interestingly, the mPOS ecosystem is gearing up for major growth this year as increasing retailer adoption and more consumer-friendly innovations from developers are supporting key events in every sector of the mPOS space.

The African market is not left out of this growth. Following successful certification of its mPOS solution by the Nigeria InterBank Settlement Systems Plc (NIBSS), Innovectives, a pan-African payment systems/services provider just launched SmartPesa mobile point of sale solution. SmartPesa has the most advanced debit/credit processing platform available. It is an efficient, reliable and secure way to engage your customers and process payments on the spot.  SmartPesa has  far lower acquisition cost and overhead (data and support) which is usually borne by commercial banks is non-existent. SmartPesa will help banks increase e-payment coverage and  grow income per POS device.

SmartPesa is EMV and PCI compliant and supports retail card present, pin based debit processing, e-Commerce and m-Commerce. Through bespoke modifications, the application can be connected to legacy inventory system, allowing retail owners to monitor remotely transactions being made in the field, control stock levels in real-time, and with up-to-the-second information available to them.

SmartPesa was developed with a lot of local requirements factored in. A transaction can be initiated and completed within just 30 seconds making it the fastest P2P solution available. It also is not resource intensive and does not require banks making expensive investments to deploy it.

The licensing and deployment of mobile financial services in Nigeria was expected to create a significant impact in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) push for financial inclusion for most Nigerians and a cashless society. However, available information point to the fact that traction is yet to be gained by most of the mobile financial solutions deployed in the country. Solutions deployed by banks only focus on a small percentage of their already existing customers, while privately driven solutions are more of less virtual airtime vending solutions and fewer m-commerce transactions.

Currently, the cashless initiative of the CBN is geared to change the dynamics in the Nigerian payment space. The economy is still significantly cash based. The various challenges that have dogged the cashless Nigeria project are not limited to mobile financial platforms but had been witnessed in the rolling out of point of sales (POS) terminals.

Smartphones, cell phones and other mobile devices are increasingly becoming a central part of everyday life. This evolution of mobile phones in the ever-developing financial services sector in Africa has undoubtedly made the mobile phone a veritable tool for trade and other financial services.

Retailing in Nigeria has also continued to expand owing to strong growth in the value of sales, increase in the population and increase in disposable income among some segments in the population. Besides in-store selling, there has also been an increase in online selling due to increased  ownership of computers, cheaper and easier access to the internet and the new government policy promoting ‘CASHLESS’ shopping. The huge number of these retail outlets spread across various parts of Nigeria presents a potential business opportunity for the mPOS which seems even better than the already existing traditional POS.

Interestingly, the mPOS ecosystem is gearing up for major growth this year as increasing retailer adoption and more consumer-friendly innovations from developers are supporting key events in every sector of the mPOS space.

The African market is not left out of this growth. Following successful certification of its mPOS solution by the Nigeria InterBank Settlement Systems Plc (NIBSS), Innovectives, a pan-African payment systems/services provider just launched SmartPesa mobile point of sale solution.

SmartPesa has the most advanced debit/credit processing platform available. It is an efficient, reliable and secure way to engage your customers and process payments on the spot.  SmartPesa has  far lower acquisition cost and overhead (data and support) which is usually borne by commercial banks is non-existent. SmartPesa will help banks increase e-payment coverage and  grow income per POS device.

SmartPesa is EMV and PCI compliant and supports retail card present, pin based debit processing, e-Commerce and m-Commerce. Through bespoke modifications, the application can be connected to legacy inventory system, allowing retail owners to monitor remotely transactions being made in the field, control stock levels in real-time, and with up-to-the-second information available to them.

SmartPesa was developed with a lot of local requirements factored in. A transaction can be initiated and completed within just 30 seconds making it the fastest P2P solution available. It also is not resource intensive and does not require banks making expensive investments to deploy it.