‘Virtual card payment system to reposition the industry’
A major milestone was recorded in the card/electronic payment world recently with the introduction of virtual Visa card for payment/settlement and consummation of transactions. The Deputy Managing Director of Chams Mobile, the company behind the card, Gavin Young, in this interview with ADEYEMI ADEPETUN, explained how the technology will further reposition the sector with a conviction that the card cannot be cloned because of its security features. Excerpts…
How would you assess Nigeria’s evolving e-payment system and payment card industry?
It is thriving; the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is doing well in terms of injecting enthusiasm and coming up with certain principles which have taken off. At least, we have seen the Bank Verification Number project, for example, and what can be done when banks come together
What do you think is responsible for the increase in payment card fraud in Nigeria, and how do you think this can be mitigated?
I’m not sure. I guess you need to talk to the banks or the CBN that knows about it because I’m not aware there is so much card fraud. But as in many countries, there is a high level of fraud. But there is the need for protection when you go to shop online frequently. And you need to monitor what is spent on your account through your mobile phone. There is also the need to change your password regularly as well.
Lets look at the virtual Visa card, how does it work?
It’s unique in that customers actually see an image of their card on their mobile phones, tablets and PCs, whereby all the essential features of a physical card are shown in it’s ‘Virtual form’; card number, expiry date and CVV number, for example. This, for many customers, negates the need for a physical plastic card, although we offer plastic cards as an option for customers requiring such.
You only need to log onto ‘kegow.com’ and access the card.
Can you tell us what a virtual card is?
The virtual Visa card is an entirely digital payment card for online and mobile use, both locally and internationally. The card is unique in that cardholders get a full card image (the virtual card) on their mobile device, personal computer, or tablet, with a plastic card offered as an option if customers prefer.
The new payment system (introduced by Chams Mobile and Skye Bank) is expected to expand financial inclusion to millions of Nigerians by offering a low cost mobile banking solution, as the card is issued free and linked to a broad range of financial services.
It also offers an online payment alternative for e-commerce savvy individuals, small businesses and corporate companies, membership associations, and more. The new Visa virtual card is available under the Kegow brand. Kegow is the programme and card brand of Chams Mobile Limited.
The virtual card payment solution, Nigeria’s first Visa virtual card payment solution, was developed with our company’s international joint venture partners Bancore AS (as the mobile financial services processor) and Global Technology Partners (as the Visa prepaid card processor).
Looking at the technology behind the virtual card, what prospect lies for the payment card industry in the future?
We’ve seen it already in the last one year or two years. We have seen massive increase in electronic banking, and I expect that to continue. I expect that the objectives of the CBN for 2020 (Payment System Vision 20:2020) would actually be well exceeded. In every area and every segment of the population, there is massive growth and we’ve been experiencing it in electronic banking.
I think the challenge is all more in the informal environment. I think one way (of addressing that challenge) is to reestablish distribution element. Once you get your market like this, some of the elements of buying goods to pay electronically will be present. Once this is done for those goods and services, I think people will adopt electronic payment in the informal environment as well. It’s certainly growing rapidly but the exact distribution of buyers of goods and services should be done more electronically.
Can you explain the involvement of Skye Bank in this project?
As a mobile money operator, we needed a bank sponsor because to be within the financial services system in Nigeria, you need to be able to have a bank sponsor. You must be a Visa member to be able to do the sponsoring. It makes a lot of sense for us because we would not have operated that on our own.
What are some of the features of a virtual card as a payment solution?
It’s unique in that customers actually see an image of their card on their mobile phones, tablets and PCs, whereby all the essential features of a physical card are shown in its ‘virtual form’; card number, expiry date and CVV number, for example. This, for many customers, negates the need for a physical plastic card, although we offer plastic cards as an option for customers requiring such.
It’s also a very diverse product with a number of applications across various business and consumer segments. These include: co-branded cards for eCommerce companies, gift cards (as money can be credited to a recipient’s mobile phone), a naira card for Nigerians in diaspora as it can be issued online, a company allowances card and, as a payment card for retail distribution as it’s supported with a unique invoicing service.
What about its security features?
On the issue of security, we take measures to guarantee high level of security. The card is an online one; so the possibility of stealing of the card is non existent. Also, the PIN cannot be accessed by an unauthorized person. Even at that, the card holder can change his PIN from time to time.
To make the product even more secure and convenient, we have introduced another first in Nigeria, by offering a One-Time-Password ‘Verified by Visa (VbyV)’ service that replaces the old VbyV PIN service. This means that every process, from application to receiving the card, can be done entirely online from a mobile phone, tablet or PC in under 15 minutes.