Banking/Finance News

‘OPay is in Nigeria to Stay, We’re Not Leaving’ – Adekunle

Following the rumoured plan to exit Nigeria, top officers of the OPay Digital Services Limited recently held a media parley in Lagos to address the issue. The engagement also afforded the officers from OPay the opportunity to throw more light on the activities of the company which started operations in Nigeria in 2018.

Top OPay officers present at the meeting were Head, Marketing and Communications, Adekunle Adeyemi; Director, Card Business, Precilia Olayemi; Director, Partnerships, Ikponmwosa Kolawole Odiase; and Head, Business Development and App Partnerships, Adekorede Adewole. Charles Ajunwa presents the excerpts:

The Director of Card Business, Precilia Olayemi, who gave the keynote address and presentation, outlined the products provided by OPay including the mission and vision of the company.

“We were founded in 2018, we came into Nigeria as an agent banking business, where we empower people to run the cash-in cash-out and make money to be able to add to the funds and make money to be able to take care of their families. We were able to use this means to provide empowerment to different people; people who don’t have jobs, people who have lost their jobs, they took on the agency banking business and they were able to support their families.

“We believed that we were trusted by tens and millions of user agents and merchants and we are recognised as the most reliable financial service platform with the best user experience. For us in OPay we work for the customer from up. Every product that we release is based on our interactions with customers. So we ask customers what will make service more important, what makes service more seamless for you and they tell us and we go back to try and see how we can develop products to meet customers’ needs.

“We are driven by Mission and our Vision. Our Mission as OPay is to make financial services more inclusive through technology which is what we do today. Everything we do from the cards to apps, we use technology to run the financial services business.

“And our Vision, we aspire to be the most respected and competent financial technology company that actively creates social value.

“What do I mean by social value? Social is giving back to society, social value for us is when customers can tell us, OPay well done! I’m happy with what you have done for me. That is really more important to us; it’s more important to us than profit making. Profit making comes second. One of our core values in OPay is customer first. Every day we tell ourselves it’s the customer first. Then we can talk about profits because it’s the customer who will deliver the profits to you.”

Speaking further, she said: “We have two businesses that we run in OPay, we have the Consumer Business and we the Merchant Business. The Consumer Business is the OPay App which we all know today which individuals use. The App is meant to provide super-fast user experience. We also have different partnerships that we have with various service providers like bill payments, airtime, transfers, different services which we make open, accessible and mostly affordable to the consumer. So our partners help us make these services affordable to the customers.

“As of December 2023, we would like to say that we have successfully issued millions of OPay Verve cards (above five million) in partnership with the Verve cards scheme and we hold the standing of 33 per cent of the Verve market share in the industry today. We are widely spread across 36 states including Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and all these happened within a space of 15 months.

“The Merchant Business is all about the enterprise, the small medium businesses, the tailors, the salons, the vulcanisers, even the medium businesses. Some corporate organisations maintain their accounts with us.

“We use technology to ensure that the services we are providing such as financial accounting are seamless, reconciliation is seamless, having a view of your account on one screen not having to move from one screen to another. We also ensure that the issue of settlement is also seamless. Same day bank transactions, all these we ensure that we provide.

“Our future products are: the OPay POS which we believe is  safe. We also have the OPay Business App which is where the business people use. Some even use the Consumer App, we use the Business App. And we also have Virtual accounts. Today, we have a lot of businesses who say, I’m not comfortable with introducing my account to a customer. The business person is going to generate a virtual account and use that account to provide to their customers to make their payments.

“In terms of business management like I said, we are able to give you your transactions in one view. We also have the OPay Payment Solutions whereby we are customise solutions. Today, we have partners we have done that for and one of them is Guinness. We are able to customise solutions and tailor solutions to meet your need so that your business can move forward.

“These are the OPay products we have today in the industry, we have the OPay POS, the Mobile Applications which is the App, we have the Online Payment Gateway, we have the business cash board, we have the virtual account and we have the Blue Payments which is where you have DSTV, electricity payments, water payments, school fees. Like I said we are trusted by tens of millions and most of the organisations we engage with are large organisations. So for a brand like OPay to work with them means that we must have added value one way or the other, and we must have provided security.

“Today, people say OPay they are not like the traditional banks where you can walk in there and make your complaints or make your enquiries. Yes, we are able to open up 17 locations across the country that can offer customer service.

Customer engagement because we believe that the Nigerian population holds dear where a customer walks in and wants to see an individual face to face and make his case. In 2024, we believe that the population will move ahead with us, we are moving our customer service online.

“It’s something that has never been done before and we intend to do it and it will do it well. We intend to create an online customer service where the customers will have live chats, not just live chats, different activities with live customer service agents. Today, we have 500,000 customer service agents that attend to customers’ transactions. And as against just having customer service satisfaction, we also want to make sure that the services that we offer are seamless.

“We are recognised by renowned institutions, we are grateful for the awards and we don’t take it likely. In the course of 2023, we are recognised by a government agency for our contributions to financial inclusion. Like I said, we are here to bank the unbanked, to make financial services affordable. Affordable is very important because it’s not everybody that can pay the large commissions that are being charged, people want to be able to also put their monies in the banks and also be able to enjoy the services. “Another recognition which we are awarded was the recognition in Nigeria from the digital payment category and lastly, we were recognised by the Advertisers Association of Nigeria for the Consumer Choice Awards as the best network in 2023.

“We always take our customers seriously and we always like to get feedback from them.”

Security Measures

Olayemi who revealed that the Verve Cards so far released are above five million, said “No other organisation has this technology; we have designed a way whereby cards can be linked. Soft linked using technology to make payments and this is why our agents are able to sell our cards. So there is no fear that the card the agent is holding can be compromised because that card is not going into any wallets, it’s as good as a single pass. Until a customer comes, until there’s a verification, we have a verification process, we have OTPs that are backed up, even the consumer himself has to also enter details of that card onto his app to be able to link that card. Nothing can go down with that card, it’s as good as a single pass. So we take technology very seriously which is why we have been able to get the approval for the product from the regulators because we have to show them end-to-end that we have put in all the security that should be put in place to ensure that the card is secured.

“So at a point where a customer activates his card then the liability shifts to the customer because we cannot control who you give your thing to which is why we use social media to tell our customers not to disclose your pin. But you know the typical Nigerian style, oh my driver go and buy fuel and you have given him your pin. You forget you have given him your pin, tomorrow you don’t change your pin, tomorrow you forget your card and one day the driver wakes up and discovers and says Oga’s card let me go and swipe it. It happens, it happens a lot not only OPay, in banks we have seen it.

“That is why we tell our customers immediately that you compromise, go and change your pin. I think there is no security you require other than what we have put in place which we believe is the best so far.”

Integrity of Network

In his contribution, the Director, Partnerships, Ikponmwosa Kolawole Odiase, noted that the “integrity of our network is what sells us, I’m sure the complaint is about other financial institutions not really about OPay. It’s on record that during the cash crunch period OPay App came to the rescue of many. It’s very evident that we invested so much in technology compared to the traditional financial institutions which also brought us some commendations from regulators.”

He added: “Of course, there are improvements and it’s also important to note that while we have invested in technology and infrastructure we are also dependent on other relevant agents and stakeholders including the Telcos. If there are remote areas where internet connectivity is poor of course it will affect networks in the affected areas. When it comes to OPay technology and infrastructure I assure you it’s very reliable.

“It’s important to note that OPay collaborates and partners banks as regards security. That is why we are having this parley to sensitise the public about the safety of funds. We here say, your monies are not safe go and remove your monies from OPay oh! The truth of the matter is that your funds are not in OPay, what that means is we partner with banks and partnership wise we try to limit it to Tier1 banks. The banks we call the fooders because we are also particular about the safety of depositors’ funds. So the way it’s structured or incensed is that customers’ funds sit with commercial banks. The fact that you have N1 million, N500,000 in your OPay wallets those funds actually reside with a bank. So the panic should be if the banks are collapsing not if OPay is collapsing. It should be told out there that nothing happens to the funds in your wallets because they sit with the commercial banks.” 

Media Partnerships

The Head, Marketing and Communications, Adekunle Adeyemi, pledged the disposition of OPay to provide information to the media.

He added: “We recognise the pivotal role of the media in shaping public opinion and disseminating information. The role of the media in building our organisation is invaluable and we truly recognise the significance of your work. The media parley not only serves as an introduction but also an opportunity for us to forge a strong and collaborative relationship with every one of us here present.

“We are dedicated to transparency, accountability and open communication and we believe that a robust partnership with the media is essential for accurately conveying our messages to the public.

“We acknowledge the power but more importantly we recognise the responsibility that comes with your individual roles and we are eager to work closely with you to share our stories, our impacts and overall achievements. In today’s dynamic media landscape, the importance of collaboration cannot be overemphasised and we understand the significance of your role in providing objective, fair and unbiased information.

“Our aim is to be a reliable source for you and ensure accurate and timely updates from us as we remain committed to our crucial societal role. As we embark on this journey together, we look forward to building on trust, mutual respect and understanding.”

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