First Bank’s product offering of limitless possibilities – The Sun Nigeria
By Chinwendu Obienyi
Finished Over the past 20 years, electronic wallet services (eWallets) have been very popular in developed countries like the United States of America (USA).
However, the e-wallet service has slowly started gaining popularity in developing countries, especially as it catches up with developed countries which are better in terms of IT infrastructure.
It’s also not wrong to say that smartphones have had a greater impact than e-wallets, as advances in smartphones have helped bridge the gap between a laptop and a phone – which is now very accessible and affordable. for people, especially in developing countries.
According to The Economist, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe are the top three developing countries that have spent the most on mobile money apps. Nigeria was not so far in order as there was a noticeable increase in the use of banking apps, point-of-sale transactions among others, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), online transactions reached 569 million at the end of the third quarter of 2020, up 41% from 403 million in the second quarter of 2020.
The value of these transactions increased by 50%, from 29.6 trillion dollars ($77 billion) to 44.3 trillion naira ($116 billion). Apparently, Nigerians recorded significant high-value deals, with the average deal size for this period being 78 billion naira ($203 million) compared to 73 billion naira ($189.5 million) in the second quarter. 2020.
These figures show how important smartphone technology is for developing countries and how electronic services can also contribute to a country’s economy.
This is why several financial institutions offer multiple e-wallet product offerings, as competition in the banking system is desirable for efficiency and maximization of social welfare. However, bank users want an e-wallet, they know they can transfer money to any bank account in Nigeria and any mobile number, buy airtime, buy data , pay bills, fund their bet9ja wallet, check balance and generate statement and withdraw money through any mobile device. , any network, anytime and anywhere.
That’s why First Bank Plc launched the FirstMonie Wallet in 2015, an electronic wallet that allows individuals to make and accept payments electronically with their mobile phone numbers.
Firstmonie wallet is available on two channels (i.e. USSD code – *894*1# and mobile app) and there are three classes of accounts for Firstmonie wallet with their unique specifications which include; FirstMonie Classic, FirstMonie Gold and FirstMonie Platinum.
According to the bank, the product offering is a tool used by developing countries to enable individuals to participate more fully in the global financial system, eliminates the need to carry a physical wallet by storing customer payment information securely and compact and is geographically positioned in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Features and Benefits
The offering, which had 532.441 million and 150.105 million respectively in terms of transaction volume in 2021 and 2022 (Q1 2021), comes with exciting features that include fund transfer, fund wallet, time-out recharge air/data, bill payments, collection and collection, corporate disbursements and collections, Bet9ja funding, virtual card and agent locator. This in turn creates more convenience for customers, access to different accounts through the wallet with internet data available or without and can be accessed on any network in Nigeria. Also, one can have an instant transaction with or without using his Bank Verification Number (BVN).
An individual does not necessarily need to have a First Bank account to run the FirstMonie wallet. For example, registration can be done using any type of mobile device, a customer must have a registered and active mobile phone number as this would be the wallet account, customers would need data to download app from play store or IOS store and full registration and customers need airtime as low as N4 which will be asked for session cost during USSD registration .
According to surveys and feedback from existing wallet consumers, First Bank’s innovation currently beats other existing wallet products in the country. Daily Sun discovered that the FirstMonie wallet is used by 60% of men while 40% of women use the wallet.
Further surveys revealed that the transaction value of the wallet in 2021 stood at 2.84 billion naira, while around 894.92 million naira was recorded from January to March (first week) in 2022. FirstMonie Wallet user Hope Aniuma said, “I was a bit scared at first, but once I got help from the bank staff at one of the branches, I found out that it was very good, save energy and time and it was the best application for transactions”.
Another user, Mariam Owonla, said, “All I needed was my registered phone number and there was no need to sign up for different channels. I just registered via USSD and used the created 5 digit PIN to access both channels (mobile app and USSD) and so far so good, transacted seamlessly”.
E-wallets and mobile payments have proven to be a powerful tool in empowering the unbanked and illiterate population in developing countries and it is safe to say that First Bank Plc uses the FirstMonie wallet to unlock digital payment potentials as well as to create a product offering with more possibilities.