“Please send the money to my PalmPay account because I may not see it on time if you send it to my other bank account,” the driver who dropped me off one windy March morning explained.
The cash crunch that rattled many Nigerians at the start of the year was at its peak, and merchants were complaining about the services of financial institutions while old and new naira notes were scarce. Thankfully, innovative fintechs were coming to the rescue and business owners could easily receive payments in their mobile wallets.
On that fateful morning, the driver who requested that his fees be paid into his PalmPay wallet got his credit alert before my banking app told me the transaction was successful. According to social media posts from many Nigerians, this is the average experience of Nigerians who use PalmPay.
PalmPay is an intuitive digital wallet with account opening, money transfer and bill payments features in one. The Africa-focused payment platform launched in Nigeria in November 2019 after raising a $40 million seed round -the largest of its kind in Africa- led by mobile-phone maker Transsion.
Through its PalmPartner app, it provides merchants with online payment and offline POS-acquiring services. Consumer services include no-fee payment options, low-cost transfers, bill payments, rewards programs and discounted airtime.
Technext had an exclusive chat with Chika Nwosu, PalmPay’s Managing Director, to discuss the company’s plans to become Africa’s largest financial services platform, its offerings, and how it helped Nigerians navigate the infamous cash crunch brought about by the CBN Naira redesign.
Naira scarcity and PalmPay’s heroics
Chika Nwosu told Technext that PalmPay foresaw the challenges that Nigerians would face after the CBN declared its intention to reduce the cash circulating in the economy. In its bid to stay ahead of the curve and help the underbanked navigate the situation, certain steps were taken.
“We were well prepared for it. As soon as the federal government, through the central bank, made the policy, we went to work. What we did was to design and create nearby agent services, which helped our customers access agents nearby to them to swap the naira notes.”
The naira scarcity also saw a surge in the volume of e-payment transactions, and it is no longer news that traditional banks have struggled to keep customers satisfied. Thankfully, PalmPay had already established a reliable digital payment infrastructure that could handle customers’ requests, even as new customers signed up on the platform.
“The number of signups and people that came to our platform this period tripled, an unusual increase even was recorded in the transaction processed during this period”, he says.
Chika Nwosu is unsurprised that PalmPay’s customers did not hesitate to recommend the platform to other users. This, he said, was a result of the goodwill and efficient services offered by the platform. According to him, people always look for “secured and efficient platforms to use, which PalmPay was there to provide.”
Read also: Palmpay vs Opay: What you need to know before you choose
Palmpay agents and the drive for revolutionary banking
Although an e-wallet and online payment platform that offers financial services to users via its mobile app, the platform has become popular for providing pathways for users to earn money while using the mobile app for e-payment services.
In outlining the platform’s unique offerings, Chika Nwosu noted that its cash-back and rewards system is a peculiar strategy and offering that no other platform can boast of.
If you look at our product you will notice one unique proposition which is the cashback customers get when they make use of our platform for various purposes which ranges from recharging, paying bills, subscription and even transfers. No conventional banking platform offers this.Mr Chike Nwosu
“Also, apart from the cashback, people get to enjoy the speed of transfers and efficient service delivery, which is not very much available on other platforms. When you make transfers, for instance, it delivers almost immediately”, he added.
On their operations in the country and in the continent, Mr Nwosu noted that while the platform only currently operates in Nigeria and Ghana, the platform has successfully established itself in almost all the nooks and crannies of the country, with its super agents present in almost all the local government area currently.
For Palmpay Nigeria, we have our agent banking and the app side of the business. For the agents’ banking, we have them deployed in about 700 local governments in Nigeria currently. We also have our customer care services with almost 300 staff, plus the regional offices.
There are 23 offices in Nigeria’s key cities which attend to customer issues and complaints. 90% of all customer issues are solved within 24 hours while 98% of the same are solved within under 48 hours“. He says even with this, there are other issues that the platform alone can’t solve requiring the intervention of conventional banks, hence, the remaining 2%.
Nearly 25 million Nigerians use PalmPay, with more than 500,000 agents in different locations in the country, and the business operates in more than 95% of Nigeria’s local territories while successfully processing over 15 million transactions daily.
PalmPay has established means to stay ahead of the curve by establishing an efficient research team that investigates the needs of Nigerians. The company interacts with customers via the app, its super agents, and the customer support team to provide notable features that will continue to ease financial inclusion for the underbanked.
You can watch the full interview here:
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