First National Bank of Botswana on Friday warned its competitors when it launched FirstPay, a debit and credit card online portal that allows the bank’s and non customers to pay utilities online.
The BSE quoted bank, which has been credited with leading innovation in the country’s banking sector, said the new offering is a response to the needs of the changing world of making and receiving payments.
FNBB Director of Card and e-Solutions, Connie Storom, told a media launch FirstPay is cost effective and time saving.
“We are responding to the needs of a customer, which are ever changing,” Storom said.
“At FNBB, we are always in the lead. FNBB embraces change; we are always looking at what our customers need and respond swiftly to the needs of customers, businesses and government,” she added.
FirstPay is one suit of products that the bank is rolling under the Visa International approved e- Commerce license that allows merchants to securely accept Visa card payments for goods and services bought via the internet. The bank is the only one with such a license in the country.
To date, the bank has signed up to 20 hotels and lodges and other retail outlets that are now accepting Visa debit and credit cards as form of payments on their websites.
The bank is now extending the e- Commerce offering to the merchants through FirstPay.
The new portal will allow the bank’s clients and non- customers to pay bills and rates to Gaborone City Council, Botswana Power Corporation, University of Botswana, Multichoice Botswana and G4S.
FNBB will host and maintain the portal/website on behalf of the merchants whose list is expected to increase.
Storom explained that the benefits of the portal are that there is no need for consumers to queue for long hours trying to pay their utility bills when they can do that in the comfort of their offices on mobile phones if they are connected to the internet.
The other advantages are that the service is available 24 hours a day and seven days of the week and is a one-stop portal for various service providers.
For a client to pay their bills, they have to fill an online application form in order to use the services provided by the portal. Then they will be able to log in after creating the account and choose the service provider they want to make payments to.
FNBB estimates the approval takes about nine seconds for FNBB card users and around 15 minutes for consumers from other banks. After payments, consumers will be issued with an online receipt to confirm payment.
The fees charges on the portal are the normal charges levied when clients use their cards to swipe. Although the portal is only been launched now, it has been successfully used with BPC for a month now.
FNNB said there are currently no challenges, but IT analysts believe there will be problems when the number of users grows.
The portal also provides convenience for Batswana in the Diaspora who want to pay their bills from time to time.
“We are especially pleased to launch FirstPay portal. This is a one stop payment portal that seeks to eliminate cash as the primary means of payment across Botswana. Any customer can securely and conveniently make utilities and services payments through FirstPay portal,” said Storom.