The Managing Director/ CEO of Interswitch, an integrated payment and transaction outfit, Mr Mitchel Elegbe, has called for collaboration among payment companies in order to reduce the dominance of cash usage in the economy.
Elegbe, who made the call Friday in Lagos at an event to mark the 10th anniversary of Verve, his company’s baby, lamented the 90 per cent level of cash in transaction settlement as against 10 per cent of e-payment.
“The challenge we have is not to fight among ourselves. With all the payment companies in Nigeria today, penetration is still at 10 per cent. The real level is cash. It is 90 per cent. You have to be extremely lazy as a payment company not to do well in a market where 90 per cent is still cash. So there is more to do and we need to work together. Interswitch is a leader today because of people’s support.”
Going down memory lane, he recounted the beginning of domestic card scheme, particularly Verve ,in the country, saying the desire to create something in the mould of global players fired the zeal of the co-founders of Verve.
His words: “Even though, we didn’t have the technology, we didn’t have the knowledge, we challenged ourselves to create something that the global masters already have, and we called it Verve. Something that is energetic, something forward- thinking. Today, Verve is 10! It is being issued in many countries.
“Today, with the support of banks, Verve is being accepted in 20 countries in Africa. Verve is being issued in Kenya, in Uganda. Verve has a market share of 95 per cent in The Gambia. A small country? That is the story. And that story is the story across every single country in Africa. And that is our dream. It is the dream to take this product to every country where people deserve to do things in a particular way, not because they don’t want to but because the system in that country has made it difficult for them to use a product that they typically would enjoy. So we challenged ourselves to be the ones to take that product to every country in Africa.
“It is time for Verve to travel out. That is what we are doing. And it is working. It is working in countries around the World. We were in South Africa recently and my team just tried it out .It worked. We tried it in Dubai, it worked. We tried in the UK, it worked. We launched it in the US. We have reasons to believe that It works in 185 countries as we speak.
“There are over 200 small companies connected to Interswitch and Verve in one form or another. They are creating jobs; they are creating solutions. That is why they exist.”
In his speech, the CEO of Verve, Mr Mike Ogbalu 111, said before the coming of Verve, the international players were serving largely the top one per cent of the country and made a bet in the market that the market would be credit driven.