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Unified Payments Receives the Award of the second holder of the Payment Terminal Service Aggregator licence

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has granted the country’s second Payment Terminal Service Aggregator (PTSA) license to the premier financial technology company, Unified Payments. This is to combat financial crimes and market irregularities. 

Unified payments

The move is targeted at implementing the existing requirement that all transactions from point-of-sale channels in Nigeria must go through a licensed Payment Terminal Service Aggregator (PTSA). The license authorizes the company to provide payment terminal services to traders. It allows merchants to accept customer payments via several channels, including point-of-sale (PoS) terminals, mobile payments, and online payments.

Unified Payments and Its Services 

Unified Payments, launched in 1997, is a group of companies offering several services. The services include Financial Technology, Banking, Payment Schemes, Digital Commerce, Value-Added Services, Payment Solutions, Software Solutions, etc.

It is owned by a group of Nigerian banks with the interest of providing seamless transactions to the population. The banks include First Bank, Access Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Zenith Bank, and Fidelity Bank.

Note that Unified Payments paved the way for PoS payments in Nigeria with the ValuCard. 

In January 2024, the CBN collaborated with the Association of Mobile Money and Banking Agents of Nigeria (AMMBAN) to develop a new feature on PoS terminals.

This terminal detects fraudulent transactions at agents’ locations. It does this by requesting specific KYC information before processing certain transactions. It makes it easier to track down offenders and enhances the security of the nation. 

CBN Aim Of Using Unified Payments

The laws align with the CBN’s aim to fully track all e-transactions in Nigeria. This is due to the misuse of such transactions to fund insecurity, violent crimes, banditry, kidnapping and other vices.

An anonymous analyst stated that “By awarding a second PTSA license, the apex bank has proactively responded to industry operators with concerns.  Although, the concerns are in line with channeling all transactions through a single aggregator, the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System PLC (NIBBS), as has been the case for some years.”

In addition, other financial analysts and industry players applauded the Central Bank concerning the new decision. They asserted that the move could be a huge step in the right direction. Also, they applauded the open, transparent, and inclusive manner via which the selection process was managed and the license awarded.

“The selection process, which lasted for months, began with an invitation for qualified organizations within the payment industry. They were asked to submit an Expression of Interest document, along other requisite documentation. There is also an additional capital requirement of N1 billion.”

Unified Payments, The Preferred Service Provider 

The new management of CBN did not give the license out without going through due process.  CBN went through a public bid process outlined in its publication on January 5, 2024, in different national newspapers.

Finally, Unified Payments emerged as the most preferred service provider.

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Abdullahi Kafayat
Abdullahi Kafayat

Abdullahi Kafayat is an enthusiastic writer interested in the tech world. She's a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University and has a BSc in Chemistry. You can reach her at Kafayatabdullahi17@gmail.com.

Articles: 260

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