Africa: Expanding Region's E-Payment Systems


Interswitch, an electronic payment transaction switching company; last week in Lagos, unveiled its business expansion plans into East and West Africa markets.

The expansion plans, which repositioned the company as a Pan-African integrated transaction and payment processing company, prompted Interswitch to change its brand identity in order to reflect its newly expanded status.

The expansion plans, it was gathered, came to fruitfulness, through the sale of the company's 67 percent equity to Helios Investment Partners and Adlevo Capital. Helios already had significant investments in financial service firms in East and West Africa while Adlevo Capital has typically invested in businesses where technology and continuous innovation are critical for business success.

Prior to the sale, InterSwitch had acquired a controlling stake in Bankom Limited, Uganda's only licensed inter-bank switch, and had recently won a competitive bid to partner with the Central Bank and Bankers Committee of Gambia and Sierra Leone to design, implement and manage the national switches in these countries.

With its multi-channel innovative solutions such as Quickteller, which is a value added service platform; Paydirect, a payment collections, lodgment and monitoring solution; Verve, a domestic Chip and PIN payment card, and MasterCard Verve, a co-branded payment card for domestic and international markets, InterSwitch says it has become a prominent brand in electronic transaction switching and payment processing in Africa, and that it is set to better serve customers with Africa wide aspirations.

Pleased with the expansion plans, Chief Executive Officer of Interswitch,  Mitchell Elegbe said "we are expanding into East and West Africa, in order to reflect exactly what we do and how we can serve organisations and governments across Africa. The repositioning of our business has given us an opportunity to refresh our corporate identity in line with current times, develop consumer associations in line with our business offering, and create an awareness of our products and services in existing and new markets".

Addressing the issue of its new corporate identity, Chief Marketing Officer for InterSwitch, Mrs. Tito Adeniyi-Aderoju said, the re-branding would reflect the company's new Pan-African status, while still retaining its name which was rooted from the Nigerian environment. "The refreshed corporate identity forms part of an overall brand strategy to communicate how InterSwitch has, and can partner with businesses to accelerate growth, and reduce transaction costs irrespective of where the business may reside on the African continent."

With the commencement of operations eight years ago as a small company with a vision, Interswitch has currently grown to become a Pan-African, providing online, real-time transaction switching services, that enable individuals and businesses have access to their funds across banks via a variety of payment channels such as Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Point of Sale (PoS) terminals, Mobile Phones, Kiosks, Web and Bank branches.

Elegbe further explained the importance of a robust electronic payment systems, which he said, enhance the commercial reputation of any country, improve the investment climate, strengthen the image of the banking sector and provide the much needed vehicle for increasing economic growth, and improving welfare, assuring that InterSwitch would continually be committed to seeing Africa excel in the global payments landscape.