Access Bank in partnership with AfriGOpay, has launched the first national domestic card designed to meet the needs of the Nigerian payment industry.
Mr Victor Etuokwu, Deputy Managing Director, Retail Banking, Access Bank, said this in a statement on Thursday in Lagos.
Etuokwu said that the scheme, championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), would provide innovative solutions to users of financial services in Nigeria, Africa, and across the global markets.
“It is with excitement that we announce that Access Bank, Nigeria’s largest retail bank with over 60 million customers, is the first financial institution in Nigeria to successfully issue the first live card of the Nigeria’s National card scheme- AfriGO.
“The launch of AfriGO is another milestone in the development of a vibrant and rapidly expanding payments industry.
“Consumers demand value in real time, not just transactions. With AfriGO, we can provide valuable card benefits, robust loyalty rewards, and a compelling incentive to utilize electronic payments rather than cash,” he said.
Etuokwu also said the AfriGO Card had additional benefits designed to facilitate the growth of Nigeria’s payment ecosystem, thereby supporting more tailored payment services.
He said it would strengthen payment security, expand financial participation, guarantee data sovereignty, eliminate FX dependency, and provide Nigerians with several other benefits.
This, he said, would allow cardholders to enjoy increased affordability and more flexible payment options.
The statement quoted Mr Robert Giles, Senior Retail Advisor, Access Bank as saying, “the national card scheme will operate locally as it is tailored to the specific needs of the country.
“We have also recorded successful purchases on POS and ATMs which began on March 14, 2023.
“Domestic ownership of a local card scheme eliminates demand on foreign exchange and reduces cost of transacting.
” It will also help us partner with local fintechs and payment companies to build solutions on the AfriGO scheme that solve customers’ pain points,” he said.
He also noted that the national card scheme came a crucial time for the national payments’ infrastructure where demand for convenient alternatives to cash was at a peak.
He said the bank believed that the AfriGO scheme was a new building block that would support continued progress in the payments system, building on Nigeria’s position as the sixth most developed real-time payments market in the world.
It also quoted the Chief Executive Officer of NIBSS, Premier Oiwoh, as saying that the payments landscape in Nigeria has continued to evolve via seamless and convenient real-time electronic payment solutions driven by innovation and advancement in technology.
“The launch of our national domestic card scheme AfriGO is very timely; AfriGO will drive our financial inclusion goals amongst many benefits, and we are thrilled that Access Bank is the first bank in Nigeria to issue AfriGO cards to its customers.
“Access Bank has demonstrated the much-needed commitment to enhancing financial inclusion, and we urge other financial institutions to commence issuing AfriGO for more accessible and convenient payments for all Nigerians, regardless of their location or financial status,” Oiwoh said.
The statement also quoted Aminu Maida, the Executive Director, NIBSS, as saying, ” with technological advancements, there are more options for payments and the recently launched national domestic card scheme, AfriGO gives us assured comfort on all financial transactions.
“We are excited that Access Bank is the first to key into our belief of AfriGO’s immense value to the Nigerian financial ecosystem.”
AfriGOpay is a financial services business affiliated with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System. (NAN)