Firstmonie, the mobile money platform of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has partnered with Mobile Media Info Tech Global Limited (MMIT) to commence a new mobile wallet capability that allows consumers to purchase services on international merchant websites. This initiative is the first of its kind in the African mobile money and payment landscape and would enable online purchases, and apps download through the Firstmonie platform.
Leveraging on its expertise in electronic payments, FirstBank is constantly exploring innovative ways of enhancing its service offerings to ensure products are well suited to its existing and potential mobile subscriber base. With the upswing in digital applications, Firstmonie subscribers can now directly pay for applications download from their mobile wallet. This has eliminated the limitation posed by daunting payment process, especially for the youth market, many of whom have no access to international payment cards and have been un-served within the global ecommerce space.
On the heels of this partnership, Firstmonie and MMIT have launched the Aflix project – a mobile Video-On Demand (VOD) content provider that offers a wide range of streaming materials including international hit movies, series, music, children programmes, lifestyle, nature and science, and much more. The Aflix VOD application, is available through the Google Play store, it allows consumers to stream content directly on their mobile devices and tablets on 3G/4G networks and WiFi. Nigerians can now enjoy a first-of-its–kind experience by paying for international digital content in local currency using the Firstmonie electronic wallets on their mobile devices. Through this partnership, FirstBank has again spearheaded the CBN cashless policy and financial inclusion for unbanked youths, as you do not even have to be a bank customer to use Firstmonie and enjoy the Aflix service.
Kim Fraser, CEO of MMIT, commented on the initiative saying, “MMIT is very excited about the launch of services with FirstBank’s mobile wallet. The ability to use an African based mobile wallet to transact with international merchants is a first in the alternative payments space, and MMIT is very proud to be working with First Bank of Nigeria on this initiative”.
Celestine Okobi, Acting Head of Mobile Financial Services at FirstBank further asserted that the Bank is proud of this innovation which is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. According to him “this service will allow consumers to use global best app-based services and pay for such services with their Firstmonie wallet in Naira. With this new development Firstmonie will be one of the payment options for digital content”. He also said that this is the first time a mobile money wallet is being coupled to the complex global digital content space to seamlessly facilitate payments in Naira, and this initiative enables FirstBank further close the gap between the banked and the unbanked population in Nigeria.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited has over the past 120 years continued to lead financial services industry innovation. The Bank has been at the heart of Nigeria’s e-payments revolution and continues to dominate that space. With a long list of industry-firsts under its belt, First Bank is once again pushing the boundaries. Firstmonie is the leading mobile money service in Nigeria with over 2.8million subscribers and over 13,000 agents across Nigeria. Intending subscribers can register for a Firstmonie wallet by dialing *894# on their phone and the service is available on all major GSM networks.
Aflix is the first merchant to go live on Firstmonie with the digital e-commerce initiative. Other international merchants would be added soon. Aflix uses special compression technology that adjusts to the user’s quality of bandwidth to deliver quality viewing content. Commenting on the partnership, Noam Josephides, CEO of Vonetize and AflixTV said “We’re thrilled about this partnership that will allow the Nigerian consumer to access top-tier content across a wide array of categories through our Aflix offering. Aflix by SmartVOD is committed to bringing the best content to users across 33 countries on the African continent, and our partnership with Firstmonie is going a long way to accomplish that goal”. The Aflix VOD service is currently available only on Android devices at this time, with other operating systems coming soon.
Mobile Media Info Tech Global Limited (MMIT) is a mobile payment processing company pioneering in the field of mobile payments both locally and internationally. MMIT has significant capabilities in developing, deploying and managing payment platform solutions with particular relevance to Sub-Saharan markets. MMIT has already developed and tested its payment solutions and platforms including the “M-Content” and “M-Merchant” that utilise pioneering software and technology.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc, is Nigeria’s leading financial services institution by total assets and gross earnings and one of the largest corporate and retail banking financial institutions in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa). Since its establishment in 1894, the Bank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, risk management and strong capitalization.
FirstBank operates an extensive distribution network with over 750 business locations (623 branches, 61 quick service points and 69 cash centers/agencies), over 2,397 ATM’s and over 10 million customer accounts. The Bank provides a comprehensive range of financial services and has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, Banque International de Credit (B.I.C) in the Republic of Congo, International Commercial Bank (ICB) in Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal as well as its Representative Offices in Johannesburg, Beijing and Abu Dhabi.
FirstBank is the recipient of many awards. The Bank has been named “The Best Bank Brand in Nigeria” four times in a row – 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 – by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group. FirstBank’s brand purpose is to always put its stakeholders, customers and partners at the heart of its business, even as it is poised to standardize customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across Sub Saharan Africa, in consonance with its brand vision “To be the partner of first choice in building your future”. The brand promise is to always deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on the FirstBank’s inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position its customers first in every respect.
For four consecutive years, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, FirstBank has been named the “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards. Other recent awards include the “Best Bank in Nigeria” in the Euromoney Awards for Excellence, “Best Bank in West Africa” and “Most Innovative Bank in Africa” in the African Banker Awards, “Best Bank in Nigeria” in the EMEA Finance African Banking Awards for the fourth time, “Best Foreign Exchange Services in Africa” in the EMEA Finance Treasury Services Awards, “Best Banking Group in Nigeria” by World Finance Banking Awards, and “Best Financial Reporting Company” by Africa Investor.
Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications