As the central bank of Nigeria (CBN), drives financial inclusion with giant strides and NIBBS upgrading her system to accommodate the projected 600m point of sale (PoS) terminal transactions this year, agents at the last-mile are faced with new trends of challenges in deepening financial inclusion.
Among the new challenges according to them centre around PoS transactions, lack of accurate transaction data, unauthorized PoS chargebacks, agent deployment and viability among others. Fasasi Sarafadeen Atanda, managing director, ECOSA Hybrid Network, who spoke to Nigeria CommunicationsWeek lamented that the new trends of challenges are inimical to realizing the objectives of achieving 80 percent financial inclusion goal by the year 2020.
On PoS resolution challenge, he said that most customer desks of commercial banks in Nigeria lack proper knowledge of PoS dispute resolution procedure. “POS is an electronic device like ATM, and any dispute should be electronically resolved between issuing and acquiring banks. So, why should the banks toss customers around?
“Today, banks usually turn customers back by asking them to return to agents and claim their declined-debit funds. In fact, to demonstrate the seriousness of their knowledge gap, some banks will print internal arbiter conversation mail for customer to go after the agents for refund. This action has led to customer’s loss of trust in the use of PoS and agents are sometimes locked up by the police upon customer’s complaint.
“CBN needs to urgently circularize PoS dispute procedure and ensure compliance of commercial banks. For some other banks that accepted dispute complains and processed, they usually fail to follow up and close the resolution by getting customers account credited. Are there no time limits for PoS dispute resolution in Nigeria?Atanda added that there should be at least three sources of data for PoS transactions which are NIBBS source, PTSP and the bank sources.
“Agents or merchants should ordinarily have access to at least PTSP and/or the bank data. Unfortunately today, there are serious challenges with all the above data sources. For instance Transaction Log Monitor, Olympos database from NIBBs, cannot recover previous transactions when the need arises possibly due to technical glitch.
“There are also instances where transactions of certain TIDs got missing from transaction records on the PTSP database. More so, only few banks make PoS transaction reports available to agents and merchants daily. The implication of loss or inaccurate data is reconciliation issue and merchant/agent capital erosion.
He also expressed financial inclusion agents’ frustration over unauthorized PoS chargebacks. According to him ‘most merchants and agents are closing shops today because of numerous unauthorized chargebacks . While recent upgrade by NIBBS has reduced the PoS transaction failure rates, the other determinant which is Prompt terminal upgrades by PTSPs still causes high declined rate with the accompanied daily chargebacks by the banks.
Most banks abuse their power to debit bank accounts without recourse to laid down rules of notifying merchants and agents at least 72hrs ahead of debits. Also, some banks chargeback narrations do not show TIDS of the terminal being charged and most agents see this as fraudulent debits’.
Victor Olojo, National President, Association of Mobile Money Agents of Nigeria (AMMAN), noted that Interoperability has also continued to remain a major challenge for them in this industry, especially agents.
“Because, we deal with consumers who cut-across different mobile money operators and banks, for instance, if I’m an agent with bank A and I’m unable to do transactions with Bank B with the device of Bank A that is not really the idea of financial inclusion.
“Financial inclusion should enable people irrespective of whatever financial institution they are operating. It means, if I have a Paga wallet I should be able to send money from my Paga wallet to Quickteller or PocketMoney wallet. Presently, this is not happening. What we have in the market place today is using different point of sale terminals for different banks, in that regard, I ‘m using 10 PoS for 10 banks. The ideal situation should be one PoS from Bank A should be able to attend to customers from nine other banks.
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