Nigerian Online Payment Systems…How we for do?

Nigerian Credit cardsThis is one of those posts where I speak my mind about Nigeria and her many problems.

My focus is payment systems.

I have been doing business on the web for about 5 years and have always hoped and prayed that we would have batter payments systems or at least online merchants would be nicer to Nigerians wanting to make payments.

Before I go on with my post, let me say I know the reputation Nigeria has in the western world. Thanks to our poor Public Relations and Media Services that image is being destroyed more and more everyday.

Doing business on the web as Nigeria is a harrowing experience because you have one limitation or  another almost every other day.

When I began my Web Marketing pursuit a few years ago, I needed to purchase a major Internet Marketing Suite called Site Build It.

At the time no Nigerian bank was offering a debit card for online payment as we have it today.

At the time, I had to take up a web design job for a client who decided to reward me by helping get a copy of the software.

I still found myself continually haunted by the fact that I had to purchase other softwares or services online, from web hosting to domain names to softwares and I had to get people living in the States or th United Kingdom to make such payments.

It was frustrating for a while.

Fast forward a few years and our banks finally decided it was time to setup debit cards that could make payments online.

There was still one small problem though, for most of these cards you had to change your naira notes into dollars or pounds and then pay it into your card or domiciliary account but of which could cost about $100 to 150 to open.

I as I type this post, I can still remember the hassle I went through at one of the warri branch of Guaranty Trust Bank to open my Dollar Denominated Debit Card.

Some weeks later I got the card and I loaded about 300 dollars to pay for a service online.

I first contacted the merchant to ask them if they accepted cards from Nigeria and the answer I got sounded something like, ‘Don’t be ridiculous we accept cards from anywhere’.

On the said date I put on my laptop to make my order and the card was declined.

I called the merchant to see if they could place my order manually and she tried it and it was still declined.

It can cost a fortune to make international calls so thanked and told her I would try it again on my laptop.

I did and still got a message that my order had been declined. Just immediately I got a text message from Guaranty Trust Bank saying my card had been debited and the payment taken.

I immediately called the merchant and the lady I spoke with said they had not received the payment and that it might go through but that they had never had such an experience.

To cut my story short, 7 months later my bank still could find my money and the merchant said they never received it.

Several mails to card services proved abortive.

My $300 had disappeared into thin air.

I then made up my mind not to use that card anymore and decided to try the Fidelity Bank One World card because I heard some positive reviews by some Nigerians who had used it.

I opened an account with Fidelity and applied for the card, activated and it loaded my funds to pay for ACCA exams for a friend.

Again the card was declined, thankfully the funds was not removed.

I tried to make some other payments but still got a decline message.

All these scenarios make me ask the question.

What is wrong with Nigerian Banks and our payment services?

Or could it be that merchants who list Nigeria also go the extra mile to black list or debit Visa or Mastercards?

Only recently did I decide to activate my Guaranty Trust Bank ATM card for online payments.

I have tried to make payments to 3 different websites and all declined.

I called card services and they say, ‘Mr Madusha, there is nothing wrong with your card’.

I have been able to make payment on only one website and that is Cancer.org

I decided to check out the validity of my card and donated $20 dollars for cancer research and guess what…

My card went through.

Should I be angry or elated that for the first time a Nigerian card did not disappoint me?

I still have faith in Nigerian Banks and their ability to create credible online payment systems for us.

The whole world is going digital and Africa especially Nigeria, South Africa and some other African Nations are already waking up to enormous possibilities on the Internet.

E-businesses owned, managed and run by Nigerians are springing up all over.

Wakanow, ……………………..

Nigerian Banks have to wake up and prove their mettle by providing us eith superior payment systems especially when it comes to debit cards. We are not even asking that credit cards work just yet.

I still have hope unlike my Dad who went on business trip to Germany and loaded all his money on an ECOBANK debit card.

He got to Germany and got stranded because he could not make withdrawals at the local ATM because the card was invalid despite the fact that the bank here told him it was ready to be used.

He came back home and vowed never to use any card that had been issued by a Nigerian Bank anymore.

You can imagine.

I know of many friends who have the same kind of story.

As of today when I type this post, 2 of my friends are satisfied with Zenith Bank cards. Web Surfer and their online payment enabled ATM card.

They say it works. I hope it does.

Maybe one we will have a debit card from Nigeria that will be accepted by all merchants.

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