By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria-based fintech, Touch and Pay (TAP), which processes microtransactions across Africa, such as paying for bus journeys, is planning on making it easier for users of public transportation popularly called Danfo to begin paying fares using its near-field technology (NFC) products.
This was disclosed by Mr Micheal Oluwole, the co-founder and chief growth officer of the company, who noted that the $50,000 prize money it won at the Ecobank Fintech Challenge in 2022 has helped the company focus on its core target of helping Africans process cash-based transactions digitally as well as advancing the country’s cashless policy and providing true credit facilities for merchants, retailers, and customers.
“In one year, that $50,000 has gone a long way and you will begin to see the effect from January 2024,” he told Business Post, adding that, “We’ve been able to pilot, for the first time payment digitisation in the informal space. From 2024, you will start seeing Danfos accept payment digitally,” he told Business Post.
He said the popular buses will come with their acceptance devices and commuters will be able to pay by tapping to pay. This is already a feature with the popular Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) vehicles in Lagos.
“So, you have danfos going digital, which is the first of its kind in Africa. We have done our research and that $50,000 went a long way to pilot and we have been able to learn so much from that market.”
He also told this newspaper that a few other innovations would be rolled out in the coming months, adding humorously that, “We will also soon start paying for Gala and Coke digitally,” referring to a snack and a beverage popularly consumed on commutes, especially during traffic.
With over 2 million users who help 500,000 people make payments daily, Touch and Pay boasts of clientele ranging from the Lagos State and Sokoto State Governments to the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), which is the body regulating public transportation workers in the county.
With a massive potential, NFC – a short-range wireless technology that enables communication between devices when they are close to each other, remains largely untapped in the Nigerian financial space. If utilised, it can authenticate credit cards, unlock doors, transfer files, and jumpstart more capable wireless links without much hassle.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June released its guidelines on contactless payments and directed that individuals would be able to conduct financial transactions using wireless payment instruments such as cards, stickers, wearable devices, and mobile electronic devices. Payments can be made when these devices come in proximity with contactless-enabled payment terminals — stipulated at 2cm by the regulator.