What’s the future of Nigerian Bank Payment Gateways?

By in Dev

I’ve always wanted to write a proper review of all the Nigerian Payment Gateways I’ve worked with, but I’ve always been busy lazy. My first draft has been on my iPad for like 3 weeks.

Almost every Bank in Nigeria have their own online payment system that allow registered merchants to accept payment on their website or app, maybe. And looking at the trend from 2012 till now, I’m kind of wondering what the next few years will be for these gateways considering my past experiences.

Known Issues

Fees: These Payment Gateways often require a set-up fee, usually between 50k and 150k and charge a particular percentage on every transaction, e.g 2.5% with a cap of 2k. That’s relatively high for individuals and startups when compared with VoguePay, PayStack and the rest. This is a major reason why some site-owners stick to direct bank payment. What’s more appalling is that a merchant is required to open an account (if you don’t have any) with the bank before using their gateway. We all know this is more of a policy issue than technical.

Integration: Integration with existing platforms seems like a headache for developers/merchants as most of these payment gateways do not have modules, plugins and library for popular frameworks that merchants can download, install and start accepting payment. Thanks to them anyway, it gave some of us the opportunity of developing plugins and even landing us a job.

User Acceptance Test can be a little daunting as well, GTPay for instance requires two UATs; theirs, then InterSwitch’s before a merchant account can go live. Signing up and going live immediately in one-week is almost impossible. The shortest I’ve seen is with InterSwitch for Cregital Deals. We filled the forms on a Tuesday and went live on Friday (almost 4 days), but trust me that’s because of standing relationships and urgency.

User Experience and Checkout: User interaction is a very important part of a payment system. UI and UX subconsciously determine if users are to be calm or nervous, we are talking about their money here. And looking at the ones I’ve worked with so far, this is not the best as well. Number of clicks ought to be as minimal as possible, yet most still require users to click for simple redirection back to Merchant’s website.

Support: If you’ll agree with me, having a smooth experience from sign-up to testing, going live and operations afterwards isn’t too much to ask. But I’m not sure any bank is doing this at peak. In 2012 while building Eckankar Nigeria’s seminar registration portal, we had to leave FirstPay and move to InterSwitch WebPay and Unified Payment’s Visa after we’ve spent weeks exchanging mails and calls with their team and AppZone about transaction result issues.

All these amidst other little things like having to fill a long form for sign-up are the issues merchants and developers face.

But what’s the future like?

InterSwitch is stepping up their game, users can now send money on BBM via QuickTeller, WebPay on QuickTeller’s website seems cleaner, PayStack is gaining traction and putting smile on the faces of Developers/Merchants with the clean UI, recurrent billing feature and dev support. Even the good ol’ eTranzact rebranded 2 days ago. Internet users are getting conscious of branding, design and user experience and all these really makes me wonder how the next few years will be as far as online payment is concerned in Nigeria. Are we going to see better payment product designs and innovation, or extinctions?

Maybe we should just plug in our EarPods, play some music and fold our hands and watch. Or what do you think?

Also published on Medium


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