While the world of mainstream mobile identification rejoiced last week with the news that in April users who adopt the Samsung Galaxy S5 will be able to protect PayPal transactions with fingerprint biometrics, other steps in the mobile money movement were already well underway in Africa. Since 2012, Central Bank of Nigeria has been encouraging electronic methods of payment by taxing cash transactions, and the result is a landscape ready for the deployment of mobile wallets and alternate strong authentication payment options.
Today, in support of the Cash-Less Lagos Project, Teasy Mobile has selected VeriFone Mobile Money to enhance the carrier’s offerings, making them more relevant to local needs. The solution will see VeriFone contactless POS devices rolled out in a network across the country. VeriFone Mobile Money will be taking on the task of integrating and deploying the necessary infrastructure and POS solutions to retailers, telecommunication providers and banks. It’s a comprehensive and ambitious goal of allowing for biometric payments where cash would normally change hands.
“Nigeria is a rapidly advancing and sophisticated mobile money market, and there are many mobile wallet providers already in the Nigerian market,” says Chris Jones, CEO of VeriFone Mobile Money. “With Teasy Mobile, VeriFone Mobile Money will be offering a market first in Nigeria delivering Teasy customers frictionless, fast and secure transactions at the agents’ point of sale utilizing a combination of biometrics and near field communications (NFC) devices including Mobile and Card.”
The bank project that allows for this kind of large scale deployment is very progressive, and was started with the goal of boosting Nigeria into the top 20 global economies by the year 2020. The Cash-Less Lagos Project, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria, is doing this by encouraging adoption of more efficient transaction options that offer much better fraud and theft protection than traditional financial modes.
The idea is not to eliminate cash altogether, but to decrease cash dependency, and with it the associated negatives. A robust mobile payment system not only saves on cost at every point of the transaction, but it also regulates the economy, reigning in the possibility of corruption and informal economy.
“We are very excited with the market opportunity this solution will bring us,” says Teasy’s Musa Ali Baba. “We believe that, while the market is growing quickly for mobile wallets, we will be able to roll out a mixture of point of sale and mobile wallet technology, thus capturing all points at which the customer will transact. VeriFone Mobile Money has provided a very advanced, yet easy-to-use solution to Teasy that will add value to the Nigeria Cashless Vision and allow for alternative and easier ways to make payments benefiting Nigeria and the industry as a whole, and we are very excited to enter into this partnership.”