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Fintechs in Nigeria: Interswitch

Interswitch is one of Nigeria’s oldest financial technology companies. For almost two decades, it has built and maintained payment channels for some of the country’s biggest corporations, and enabled individuals and small businesses make and receive payments electronically.

The company began operations in 2002, when Nigeria had just begun to embrace contemporary digital technology. Banks were upgrading their systems, and the local population was still warming up to mobile telecommunications. A few entrepreneurs spotted the opportunity to improve financial services delivery by leveraging digital technology.

Interswitch was created to make this vision a reality. It set up a transactions switching and payment platform, and developed solutions around it for several industries. In the years since its establishment, it has served clients in the banking, retail, transportation, health, and education sectors, to mention a few. Through the solutions it has delivered, they are able to conduct transactions with their customers regardless of the distance between them.

Interswitch’s Products and Services

The services offered by Interswitch cover the entire payments spectrum: mobile, internet, ATM, and Point of Sale (POS). These services make it possible for bank customers to withdraw, deposit, and transfer money through these channels. It also allows businesses collect and disburse funds through their bank accounts.

Among Interswitch’s payment products is Paydirect, a secure web solution through which corporate organizations and government bodies can receive payments from customers. Moneys owed them can be paid at bank branches, ATMs, POS terminals, online, or mobile.

Another solution, Retailpay, is designed for retail businesses. It lets them receive payments for the goods and services they sell via multiple channels. It also enables them to manage their inventory and monitor the movement of their goods across several outlets.

Other products include Webpaydirect, a payment gateway for ecommerce websites, and Autopay, which financial institutions leverage to collect funds from their customers and make payments to them. For companies concerned about electronic transactions fraud, there’s Scorebridge, a product that helps organizations detect the risk of fraud for the systems they use.

Perhaps the most widely known offering from Interswitch is Quickteller. It’s a platform through which people can pay for everyday services, such as mobile airtime, electricity, and cable TV subscription. The service can be accessed on the Quickteller website, or via the Quickteller mobile app.

There are a number of other services from Interswitch, tailored to meet the needs of specific industries. They are deployed to concerns in the education, telecommunications, aviation, oil and gas, and health sectors. SmartGov, a product designed for government ministries and agencies, allows them to collect, disburse and monitor funds from remote systems.

The Reach and Engagements of Interswitch

Besides its presence in Nigeria, Interswitch is also active in a number of other African countries, including Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda.

In 2013, it formed an alliance with Discover Financial Services to expand its payment processing concern. It also acquired, in the couple of years that followed, two other companies: Paynet, a payments company based in East Africa (now Interswitch East Africa) and Value Added Network Solutions Limited (VANSO), a financial technology provider.

Interswitch has also launched an initiative to drive growth in the fintech sector, and promoted learning in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics through its SPAK National Science Competition for secondary schools.

Featured image source: Interswitch logo

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Ikenna Nwachukwu

Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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