The largest domestic debit card scheme in Africa with more than 19 million cards activated on its network as of May 2019 owned by Interswitch might just have given a new life to its Debit Card Platform. After numerous unproductive services of the card operation on even local and mostly global scale, can Interswitch save Verve?
On The New Future of the Verve Payment System
In 2018, electronic payments in Africa accounted for only 12 percent of transactions by volume, compared to 54 per cent in Europe and 79 per cent in North America. Sub-Saharan Africa is the fastest-growing digital payments market in the world, with electronic payment volume expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 35 per cent from 2018 to 2023 in the region (excluding South Africa). This progress is expected to be driven by the deepening payments infrastructure, population and urbanization growth, GDP growth above the global average, increased mobile and internet penetration, as well as a supportive regulatory landscape for electronic payments and financial inclusion.
Verve International is a Nigerian Pan-African and multinational financial technology and payment card brand owned by Interswitch Group. It was founded in 2009, as a subsidiary of Interswitch. In 2013, it became an autonomous business entity in a restructuring exercise. In 2005 the Central Bank of Nigeria’s issued a mandate to the Nigerian payment industry that operators should migrate from magnetic strip to EMV chip and PIN platform by 2009. The CBN migration policy was adopted to phase out the magnetic strip when the technology became susceptible to fraudulent transactions. It initially issued six million cards in partnership with several Nigerian banks.
Verve offers card products in Nigeria. In 2013, Verve was reported to have “over 20 million cards in circulation and access over 119,631 points of sale, 11, 287 ATMs and over 1,000 online merchants.” In March 2013, Discover Financial Services partnered with Interswitch, which enabled the acceptance of Verve Cards across the Discover global network, covering 185 countries and territories as at the time of the agreement. The alliance also allowed acceptance of Discover and Diners Club International (DCI) Cards at Interswitch-enabled ATM and point-of-sale (POS) terminals for purchases in Nigeria.
The Issues Surrounding Verve
Verve is not really a bad payment system if you consider doing digital payments in Nigeria or in the various African countries that supports the Verve service. The most annoying part that has pestered Nigerians is the rejection of Verve cards on social media advertising platforms such as Facebook, where PayU does not accept but reject Verve cards. Twitter and even Instagram seem to even ignore the Verve cards on their platforms, seems like Verve is a joke to them.
These issues have not been regulated since Verve started operational service on digital payments. Thus, it seems that Interswitch wasn’t looking at scaling their payment system globally by the way. This has made numerous digital savvy people who make online payments to request for Mastercard or VISA cards, as you won’t blame them will you?
Interswitch Might Just Have a Fix
1.06 billion credit cards! The number of credit cards from the four primary credit card networks (VISA, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover) is 679 million in 2018. There were a total of 1.06 billion credit cards in 2017 and the projection for 2022 is close to 1.2 billion. All hope is not lost for Verve as they have partnered with Visa Inc. (“Visa”), a world leader in digital payments, as their announced a strategic partnership is one that will further advance the digital payments ecosystem across Africa.
What are we expecting to regards this partnership? For what it’s worth, VISA is occupying the global scale of Payment systems globally and yes, I mean globally because; Visa is accepted in over 150 countries around the world. This makes it as one of the most universal credit cards available. The wide acceptance of Visa is substantiated by the fact that more than 20 million merchants accept Visa cards across the globe. The Security for its cardholders is the first priority for Visa too.
The Future. . .
Visa stands for Visa International Service Association. The company consists of six different entities. Each segment focuses on one particular geographical area, providing offers and meeting regulations that vary from region to region. Just so you know, more than 500 million Visa credit cards are currently circulating in the United States. This is the nation’s leading electronic payment brand.
A strategy that has always structured VISA is that ‘No credit cards are directly issued by Visa.’ An association of member banks provide cards to its wide customer base. Though Interswitch is playing its cards right in the regulation of Verve, it could also benefit from the strategic partnership and model that runs VISA. We could see a major global acceptance of Verve on International platforms and services come the Q1 of 2020.