Parkway Projects is a financial technology company that provides simple, intuitive, end-to-end corporate, retail and transaction banking solutions.
Parkway’s culture connotes strong belief in an inclusive and sustainable financial system that will make a difference in the underbanked and unbanked population in Nigeria.
The company has been actively building a solid financial distribution network, especially, using its flagship platform called ReadyCash.
ReadyCash is an agency banking network focused on distributing access to financial services across Nigeria.
ReadyCash agents make financial services become readily accessible to Nigerians- especially in the rural and peri-urban communities where access to service channels (airtime top-up, bill payments, bank transfer, BVN activation, bank account opening, and government disbursement) is hard to come by.
Why ReadyCash is unique
One of the most distinguishing factor is the 24-hour support service to agents across the country and an active agents community where business challenges and growth opportunities are discussed.
ReadyCash® meets with global security best-practices and CBN regulatory requirements for the delivery of mobile payment services in Nigeria.
The increased availability of electronic channels for financial exchange represents a bottom-up approach for dealing with the overwhelming cash exchange situation in Nigeria. Services provided either directly or through agents, account for a significant proportion of the overall volume of cash transactions.
Many of these services affect a great number of banked, under-banked and unbanked Nigerians; making this segment a very key sector for introducing a paradigm shift by way of the bottom-to-top strategy.
TechEconomy.ng connected with the Chief Executive Officer of Parkway Projects Limited, Emeka Onwuka, who shared more insights on the ReadyCash platform and how it has impacted the financial inclusions drives of the Central Bank of Nigeria, especially in the Northern part of the country:
Tell us more about ReadyCash, especially the effort to bring the unbanked into the banked space. How have you been able to drive this?
Emeka: “Readycash is a mobile money product and there are two sides, that is the customer and agent side. We try to call it the acquiring and issuing side of mobile money. Over time, there has been some focus on the customers’ side but we have been trying to manage both.
“In 2018, we joined the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility (SANEF) and the mandate was to help deepen financial inclusion and get to 500,000 agents across the country by 2020. For us, we’re taking the two-point approach. There’s a business side of it, which is recruiting agents and letting them help in places where there is little or no financial touchpoints. Agents can now do cost reduction, help and educate people on financial services.
“Then, we’re also looking at deepening financial inclusion. While today may not be a profitable side of the business, somebody has to do it.
“We partner with NIBSS to expand the BVN database. So we have agents who do the registration on behalf of customers. You walk into any agent location to register and get your BVN. You’re able to open a bank account at that agent location.
“As I said, it is not commercially viable per se but these are things we want to do to ensure that we are making an impact in financial inclusion. Agency banking today can be seen as serving the underserved markets. These guys are banked to some extent. They just didn’t have access. You have someone who stays somewhere in Bama. He has a card and a bank account. He wants to access his funds. He may need to travel 5/10km to the nearest bank to draw 20,000. So these are the things that agency banking is resolving, but there’s also the financial inclusion which we’re keeping an eye on.
“The SANEF initiative was focused on the North. Not too many people went there because they felt it was a commercially viable but we felt high risk, high reward and we pushed in there.
What can you say are the impact so far?
“So we started in in October 2018 with about 4000 agents. That number has grown to about 15,000 agents within a year plus. I don’t have the current figure but it should be 15,000 plus.
How is the onboarding as it is one of the issues with people trying to use mobile money platforms?
For us, the onboarding is pretty straightforward on the customer side, but we are more focused on the agents. Because that will make the onboarding process pretty simple. So you can self onboard. We just need to call to verify and then send a field rep to verify your location. We have a few representatives working for us across the country. So if you sign up today, between 24 to 48 hours, you’ll be active and be able to start transacting and helping people in your community provide financial services.
To be continued…