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Banks hinder customers’ card choices with schemes alignment


CBN building

Contrary to directive by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for money deposit banks to offer their customers the option of choosing electronic card scheme of their choice, some banks still show preference for a particular card scheme against the others.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek investigations revealed that some of the banks have adopted a system where customers’ cards are renewed as soon as it expires only to send the affected customer short message service (SMS) that he/she should go to his/her bank branch to pick it up without giving the customers opportunity to make choice of the card brand.

More so, if the customer refuses to accept the said card brand requesting for another brand, it will take some time before it will be provided and at a higher cost thereby discouraging such customer from going ahead with such demand.

Our investigations to ascertain why some banks pit tent to a particular foreign card scheme revealed that these card schemes in a move to get volume offer some banks incentives of which they can qualify to enjoy if they are able to issue their cards to a certain figure.

These incentives come in a way of marketing support or reduction in percentage of what the Bank pays for the switching of the card.Nigeria CommunicationsWeek gathered that in some cases the reward is given ahead to the banks on the agreement that they will achieve the volume by an agreed period, while failure to meet that volume means such reward will be withdrawn.

Tunde Ogungbade, managing director, Global Accelerex an electronic payment value added operator, said that apart from the consideration revealed, banks also consider cards schemes that have global outlook. “I will go for a card that I can use outside the shores of the country in choosing a card scheme”, he added.

More so, greater percentage of cards issued by banks is for domestic use, and Interswitch owners of Verve the local brand has also entered into partnership with foreign brands for the card to be accepted in some countries.He noted that global brands such as Visa and Mastercard have the economic power to invest and grow their brands locally in the country.

Charles Ifedi, managing director, Verve International an offshoot of InterSwitch, said he believe in value to the bank and value to the customer.

“Where I have an issue is a situation a customer asks for a particular brand and you decline to present that brand. However, as more brands deliver expected values, they shall continue to be accepted by the banks and expands customers’ choice. Meanwhile, it is the prerogative of the regulator which is CBN to determine who contravene its directive on providing customers the opportunity to choose. But if the deployment banks keep pushing more values into the market, like Verve is currently doing, the banks would not have option than to accept. Also, from the banks’ point of view, they would prefer to increase their international visibility or rating.”

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