This Is How Nigerian Banks Will Charge Customers for Failed Transactions

This Is How Nigerian Banks Will Charge Customers for Failed Transactions

The rumour making the rounds is that you (and the rest of us) will now be charged for failed debit  transactions.
This Is How Nigerian Banks Will Charge Customers for Failed Transactions
Um, no. That’s not right.

Let's break down the facts.

1. Yes, there is a charge, but this charge is for failed direct debits, not all debit transactions.

You won't be charged if a bill payment, airtime (or data) purchase, outward transfer, ATM withdrawal or card payment fails.

You get the picture.

2. A direct debit needs your permission. For a direct debit to be made on your account, you have to give your bank a written and signed instruction to pay on your behalf at a specific time.

If, for example, you pay a certain bill every quarter, you can instruct your bank to pay the billing company every time the bill is due.

This isn't common because banks settle most bills on a pay-as-you-go basis, but it's an actual thing.

3. A direct debit fails when an account doesn't have enough money in it. If this ever happens to you (hopefully never), you will be charged 1% of the amount you were supposed to pay or 5,000 naira – whichever figure is higher.

That's a Central Bank rule, as you must already know.

4. Therefore, if you have an active auto-renewal payment in your account, it is necessary you cancel it so you don't get charged if it fails due to insufficient funds.

5. You can breathe easy. Really, you can. No one is going to charge you for “insufficient funds,” at least not today.

© Kuda Times 
Agency Banking: How To Successfully Run a POS Business

Agency Banking: How To Successfully Run a POS Business

POS business, which is also known as Agency Banking, is currently one of the leading and most lucrative businesses in Nigeria because most people lack the time and energy to visit any ATM or stand in long ATM line for cash withdrawal or transfer. To make life easier, they withdraw or transfer funds from the nearest POS banking agent and pay the required commission. You can make up to N5,000 daily if you have enough cash to give out, good customer base, or do the right thing.

It is also no news that millions of Nigerians are into POS business, but only a handful of them achieves more success within a short period of time. Do you think the others don't take the business seriously? Well, maybe there is something they are not doing right. This article will make amend. 

In this article, we shall discuss the following:

1. What is Agency Banking/POS Business?

2. How to set up a POS business

3. Factors that hinder the growth of a POS business 

4. Possible problems encountered in POS business 

5. How to make your POS business stand out 

6. The dos and don'ts of POS business 
Agency Banking: How To Successfully Run a POS Business
Agency banking is form of branchless banking that enables conventional banks or other financial institutions, through approved agents, to broaden their network of  branches and services  in cost-efficient manner. Agency banking is popularly known as POS business; thus these terms will be used interchangeable in the article.

You need four major things to start a POS business: a shop, banner(s), physical cash, and a POS device. Your shop should be branded with the required accessories of the business. You need a banner or banners to create awareness and get the attention of passersby. You can start with at least N100,000 for withdrawal and deposit. Out of this N100,000, N80,000 should be made available for withdrawal whereas N20,000 should be kept in your account for deposit since the volume of withdrawal usually exceeds that of deposit in this business. However, you need to double your capital as you make progress in the business.  And of course you need a POS device to make this happen. Should you need a POS device, contact me: 08035232107. 

The growth or death of any business is mostly caused by the owner of the business. How would you feel if you were the cause of your own failure in business? If you would feel bad, you have to take note of the following factors and do the needful. These factors are the core enemies of a POS business: 

1. High Charges 
Your charges can make your customers run away or come back to perform more transactions. Moreover, the business is more competitive now. Gone are those days when there were a handful of POS outlets. Gone are those when you charged a customer N700 for N30,000 withdrawal, and the customer paid without uttering a word. Thus the lower your charges, the larger your customer base. And when you have more customers, you make more profit. 

I advise you apply wisdom when stating your charges. You can't be close to a bank and charge N200 or N300 for N10,000, neither can you charge the same amount when you are in the midst of other competitors. Take a tour, find out what other competitors charge and ensure your charges are lower than theirs to increase your customer base. 

2. Scope of the Business 
Most agents think agency banking (or POS business) is just about cash withdrawal and deposit. So, they limit their business to such uncircumcised thought. There is more to agency banking, My Friend. Aside from cash withdrawal and deposit, you can make bill payments, TV subscription, fund betting wallets, sell airtime and data bundles, sell WAEC result checker PIN, sell event tickets etc. If your service provider does not provide these services, there are a lot of android apps on Play Store which do and also pay commissions for all transactions done on the app. Download and install them, register, fund your wallet, and perform your transactions. Spread your tentacles and make more money.

3. Reliance on Ambassadors and Aggregators 
Ambassadors and aggregators act as middlemen between agents and their service providers. Most times, they carry out the registration process of potential agents and ensure that agents meet their daily targets. Like agents, their powers are limited. They can escalate issues (if there are any) but can't resolve them. They are also employees of the company you are working with/for. Therefore, solely relying on them for the resolution of all disputes in your business means killing your business gradually. 

From personal experience, most ambassadors or aggregators hardly take their calls. But you won't blame them because they also have targets. The best thing to do as an agent is to get the helplines of your service provider(s) and call them when necessary. Disputes, in most cases, are resolved within a short period of time when you call the helplines of your service provider(s). In this business, customers trust your credibility when you resolve their disputes on time. 

4. Failure To Pay Attention to Details 
The name “Service Provider” is not there for a mere fanciful purpose. As the name implies, service providers provide agents with the needed services that enhance the growth of their businesses. Every POS company has an android application which agents use for their businesses. You can do a whole lot with it – check your daily or lifetime transactions, log disputes or tickets, contact support, or even chat live with a customer care representative. Unfortunately, most agents are too busy to notice all these features. They would rather disturb their aggregators with every little problem. If you are conversant with the agent app of your service provider, you won't bother anybody should you encounter any problem, and resolving any issue won't be a problem to you. Learn to study the agent app of your service provider. 

5. Bad Customer Service 
If you are an agent who always refers customers to their banks to resolve dispense errors, please stop it. Do you think those customers will come back to your business centre after stressfully resolving such errors? The answer is NO. In most cases, you can help your customers resolve  disputes without going to the bank. When there is a dispute, especially dispense error, you can contact the customer's bank through a phone call and make the complaint. This should be done after your service provider must have confirmed that the money is not in their possession. In other words, you must first contact your service provider before contacting the customer's bank to make such complaint. A registered dispute takes a maximum time of three working days to be resolved. During this period, calm the customer down with nice words and assure him/her of getting the money reversed at the stipulated time. I have won the hearts of many customers with this kind gesture. It's your business; make it fruitful. 

6. Familiarity 
Some customers may feel they are entitled to buy on credit or borrow money from you because they know you or always carry out their transactions at your business centre. For the same reason, your siblings, friends, parents or acquaintances may feel the same way. You stop your business from growing once you approve this thought of theirs. Business is business; take heed lest you fall. 

7. Location
You have to consider “location” if you must excel in agency banking. Do not site your shop at a place that is very close to a bank or an ATM outlet. The bank will definitely enjoy more patronage than you because of the varying charges. Also, site your shop at a place where it is easily seen by passersby. You will also make more profit if you site your shop at a place that is close to a market. 

8. Operating in Isolation 
Nobody knows it all in this busines. You can't excel in this business if you are alone. Do not see other agents as enemies. Feel free to visit them and ask questions where necessary. The fight is against poverty, not ourselves. Instead of competing with other agents, collaborate with them to make your business grow. 

9. The Use of a POS Device as the Only Device 
Agents who use only one device get frustrated easily once there is a network problem. Using only one device in this business means standing on one of your legs. You can never be comfortable. You need more than one device so you don't get stranded, lose customers and consequently close your business for the day once bad network creeps in. 

Four major problems you can't run away from in POS business/agency banking are:
1. Dispense Error
This error is associated with withdrawal and is caused by bad network. When a bank or financial institution debits a customer's account without giving him/her value for such debit, it is called a dispense error

An agent is expected not to pay an affected customer when there is a dispense error in spite of the customer's appeal or threat. The agent should rather log such transaction as a dispute and wait for resolution. If the money is with the agent's service provider, the money will be refunded into the customer's account or the agent's wallet depending on the service provider. Otherwise, the customer will be asked to visit his/her bank for resolution. I advise agents to always assist their customers during this process and manage them professionally. This will make them patronise you more. 

2. Pending Transaction(s)
This problem is associated with deposit. When you try to deposit money into a customer's account and it shows pending, it means the transaction is not completed yet and the beneficiary hasn't gotten value for such transaction. In this case, you don't need to carry out the transaction again. 

Pending transactions may take 24-48hrs or less to process successfully. However, you can contact the support team of your service provider for quick resolution. The money maybe reversed to the agent's wallet or paid into the beneficiary's account once the transaction is reprocessed.

3. General Network Problem
Most times, bad network affects withdrawal without affecting deposit or fund transfer, and vice versa. But when there is a general network problem, you won't be able to withdraw or deposit cash, make bill payments, buy airtime or data etc.  Everything is down. At this point, you need another device to sail smoothly. 

4. There are times when a transaction is successful but the agent's wallet isn't credited. In this case, you are expected to refresh or sync your wallet so you can get value for such transaction. If you don't get value after doing this, contact your support team. 

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Similarly, when a business becomes more competitive, you have to look for other ways to make yours unique in order to remain in business. Below are some good pointers on making your POS business unique:

1. Packaging 
The difference between Mr Biggs and a roadside restaurant is packaging. Agency banking, as the name implies, is a banking business. So, it won't be bad if you give your business a bank setting. Unlike other agents who run this business under a small canopy or an umbrella decorated with tables and plastic or wooden chairs, you can rent a shop and furnish it like a bank. Make your customers comfortable, and they will find comfort in your shop 24/7. And this means more money. Below is a 30-second video of the interior of my shop. 

2. Create Online Presence 
Most agents don't showcase their busineses online because they feel agency banking is all about cash withdrawal and deposit. See factor number 2 to know what agency banking entails. I started my POS business online, but today, I own a well-packaged shop which I rented with the profit I made from my online shop. Place your business online and watch it grow within a short period of time. 

3. Accept Transfer as a Form of Withdrawal
Today, most agents don't accept transfer as a form of withdrawal because of fake alerts. All they do is card withdrawal. Have you ever thought of how your customer base will increase if you accept transfer? This will also make your business stand out since most agents don't accept transfer. You can accept transfer, but don't rely on SMS alert when you do. When a customer transfers money into your account, use your bank mobile app to check whether you have received the money or not. Pay the customer only when the money has reflected in your mobile app, not when you receive an alert. SMS alerts can be manipulated, but the money in your bank mobile app can't be manipulated. 

4. Provision of Good Customer Care Service
Without your customers, you are nothing. Give them all the assistance they want when they have issues. Don't refer them to their banks for resolution of disputes, especially dispense errors, except they MUST visit their banks for them to be resolved. 

1. Don't use any bank's device to start a POS business except you have enough cash set aside for the business.  Unlike devices of other financial institutions, most banks' devices don't have wallets; thus, all transactions carried out on a day drop in the agent's Personal Business Account(PBA) the next day. Transactions done on Friday drop in the agent's PBA on Monday. This is how most banks' devices are configured. There are many companies that offer POS services: Opay, PayCentre, Moniepoint, Paga, Capricon Digital (Baxi Box) etc. Using any of these companies' devices makes life easier for you because of the wallet feature. All cash withdrawals drop immediately in your wallet, giving you easy access to your funds (which you can also transfer to your bank account and subsequently withdraw from any bank's ATM when you run out of cash). Contact me should you need any of these devices: 08035232107.

2. Don't set up a POS business because you think it is lucrative. Set it up because you are ready to render quality services to the public. 

3. For security reason, don't give out large sum of money to people you don't really know as most persons may come to know your financial strength in order to strike when necessary. 

4. Don't keep large sum of money in your shop. If, for instance, you have set aside N500,000 for withdrawal and deposit, keep only N100,000 in your shop. The balance of N400,000 should be kept elsewhere. 

5. Always display your customer service skill whenever customers experience a problem in your shop. Give them all the assistance they need, and do not let them resolve a dispute alone. 

6. If you must have an employee, endeavour to teach him/her the business before leaving the business in their care. 

7. Count your Naira notes twice or thrice before paying a customer in order not to overpay him/her. 

8. Thoroughly check all Naira notes brought for deposit so you don't receive counterfeit notes. 

9. Close on time as evil is mostly perpetrated at night. 

10. Always check your previous balance and current balance before and after carrying out a transaction. This will help you know when you have cash shortage. 

11. Report any dispense error or pending transaction by logging it as a dispute once it is brought to your notice. You can also contact your service provider's support team as regards this issue for quick resolution. 

12. Get as many POS devices as possible so you don't get frustrated when one is affected by bad network. 

13. Don't pay a customer when there is a dispense error. Learn to manage the customer until the issue is resolved. 

14. Be security conscious. 

POS business is a lucrative business, but only those who apply wisdom prosper beyond measure.
English is a second language, not a foreign language in Nigeria

English is a second language, not a foreign language in Nigeria

Are you among the many Nigerians who feel speaking or writing the English language correctly is not necessary because it is a foreign language? If you are, please get a seat.
English is a SECOND LANGUAGE, not a FOREIGN LANGUAGE in Nigeria. And there is a sharp dichotomy between a second language and a foreign language. 

Unlike a foreign language, a second language is useful domestically. In other words, the English language is useful in Nigeria. It is not just the official language of Nigeria but also a lingua franca in Nigeria. It is an official language because it is the language that is approved by the Nigerian government, taught in schools, and used in legal or official documents.  A lingua franca is a common language used as a medium of communication by people whose native languages are different. And it is quite obvious that the English language is doing well in this regard. 

We learn a second language for two main reasons: instrumental reason and integrative reason.

The instrumental reason has to do with learning the second language for education and to secure a job. Now ask yourself. Will you be given a job in Nigeria if you are unable to speak and write English correctly? The English language is seen as an instrument for learning and acquiring the required competence to secure a job. 

The integrative reason has to do with learning the second language to fuse into the social and cultural life patterns of the native speakers. In other words, we the English language to be fully acculturated into the behavioural patterns and attitudes of the native speakers. 

However, as stated in paragraph three, a foreign language is not useful domestically. It is only useful outside the country for a specific purpose. For instance, a Nigerian student in Spain must learn Spanish to be able to socialise and set along educationally. An Igbo trader who goes regularly to France to transact business would have to learn and speak French for the purpose of business transaction. It is different from learning the English language in Nigeria because the English language is useful domestically. 

Therefore, stop saying “English is a foreign language in Nigeria." The earlier you know that English is a second language in Nigeria, the better for you.
5 Ways to Overcome Public Speaking Fears

5 Ways to Overcome Public Speaking Fears

The fear of public speaking has ruined the opportunities of many people. In this lesson, we present five effective ways to overcome public speaking fears!

How To Acknowledge a Writer Whose Post You Copied and Posted on Your Facebook Wall

How To Acknowledge a Writer Whose Post You Copied and Posted on Your Facebook Wall

How To Acknowledge a Writer Whose Post You Copied and Pasted on Your Facebook Wall
Ideally, when someone makes a post which interests you and you feel your friends need to read it too, you are expected to share it on your wall. You don't even need any permission to do that. It is not also wrong to copy and paste the post on your wall if you so choose. But when you do, IT IS WRONG not to credit the post to the author. Below are examples of the proper ways to acknowledge the author:

1. At the top:

✓ Itse De wrote (or writes)

✓ As copied from Itse De

✓ The post below is authored by Itse De

✓ As written by Itse De

2. Beneath the post:

✓ Written by Itse De

✓ © Itse De

✓ Credit: Itse De

✓ Author: Itse De

You may choose any of the methods above. Editing the author's name out of a post is not only wrong but also stealing.

Writing "Copied" without stating who you copied from, especially when you know the author, is witchcraft. It is also wrong, for instance, to simply write ITSE  beneath the post. Write the name in full because there are many Itsedes in Nigeria. To stretch this, writing the name in full, as a way of tag, without showing any sign that the tagged individual is the author, is a thieving way to claim the work because your audience may think you are simply drawing the individual's attention. Let there be a pointer showing the author. If the author's name isn't good enough to appear on your wall, don't copy his work.  

Friends, copying a post and editing a name out of it even when the name is clearly written beneath it is not proper. 

Let's change this attitude!

© Barr. Itsede K. Okhai
The Effects of Coronavirus on Education in Nigeria: The Negative and Positive

The Effects of Coronavirus on Education in Nigeria: The Negative and Positive

The Effects of Coronavirus on Education in Nigeria: The Negative and Positive
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly had serious global impact on human life as we know it. Virtually nothing is the same as no sphere of society and human interaction has escaped the direct or ripple effect of the novel coronavirus; from healthcare to aviation to food production and security; from arts to sports to banking to manufacturing to event planning/management and on to education and whatnot. All sectors of life across countries have obviously been affected in one way or the other, and our nation Nigeria is not left out.
Annoying Facts about Studying English in School

Annoying Facts about Studying English in School

Annoying Facts about Studying English in School
Is studying English in school fun? You on the other side of the intellectual/professional divide, have you ever paused to ask yourself this question? Have you? Well, let’s see some annoying facts about studying English, and you’d answer that for yourself.

Contrary to popular opinion, English studies is a really taxing discipline to delve into. The journey comes with a lot of literary texts, academic papers and other inexhaustible materials to read. The tight corner is the limited time available for students within a semester to digest all of these materials. Can you imagine being obligated to study up to 20 or 35 literary texts for only one course? As if that is not enough, the last straw that usually breaks the camel’s back is the tying of these texts together in examination questions. This always spells doom for students who may not have read all recommended texts for the course. The workload is usually massive.

Another annoying fact is that one can work very hard and still fail. One can write so well in examinations and still not succeed. English Studies is not for hard workers. It’s for smart workers. The quality of one’s study technique would determine how each semester goes.

Deriving meaning from poems that seem meaningless to you is another really annoying experience that English students face. The poem analysis process and methods aren’t the favourite part of the work for many students. Overtime, it has been observed that a larger percentage of students wish they could do away with this third genre of literature. The ability to accurately identify and deal with lots of symbols and images hidden in literary works that many people can’t see is a requirement. As a student of English, a closed mind would drown you. There are really no formulae here so one has to be open-minded and thorough. Sometimes, it feels like being trapped in the bramble, trying to find one’s way out. This is the lowest point for most English students.

It is also a very annoying fact that rapt payment of attention to details, smartness, proactiveness and the likes are requirements. Non-negotiable. These are attributes that many people build consciously under hard weather but English students have just little or even no time to build. The need for these attributes becomes clear to students immediately they take up the course and if they are not able to settle in on time, they start on a faulty foundation.

Furthermore, studying certain strange and overwhelming courses can also be truly frustrating. Few of these generally dreaded courses include: Chaucer to Milton, Neo-classical to Present, Advanced English Syntax, Advanced Phonology, etc. The syntax tree diagram and Noam Chomsky’s TGG are a matter for another day.

The oral English/transcription dilemma is another huge and annoying one for students of English. While this is an integral part of the study, many students are usually frustrated by it. Meanwhile, learning oral English or transcribing does not necessarily guaranty a change of accent. That demands even more serious personal work on the part of the student.

Another angle is that as an English scholar, conversations with some persons become irritating as you tend to pay more attention to their errors. This interrupts the flow of information and it’s usually involuntary.

As an English scholar, you suddenly possess some form of linguistic super powers. People expect you to automatically know every word and its meaning, synonyms, antonyms and all. High demand is placed on you, especially in a setting like ours where English is a second language and a lot of persons are only trying to get along with peripheral knowledge of the language and its rules, in a bid to communicate across language barrier points. Errors from English scholars become forbidden; a taboo.

Last but not the least, no one really rejoices in English department until results are actually out. This is one part that cuts across all levels and cadres of students in the department. English can shock you. So, everyone keeps calm until they are sure of where they stand at every point in time. This is another annoying fact about studying English. Although not much is said about it in linguistic scholarly circles, every English scholar goes through this.
5 Reasons Why Most English Undergraduates Graduate with Low Grades Despite Studying Hard

5 Reasons Why Most English Undergraduates Graduate with Low Grades Despite Studying Hard

It is always shocking to see English students graduate with poor grades despite working indefatigably to earn good grades. As regards this issue, it's never a good idea to blame their lecturers because the fault is entirely that of the students.

Studying English in any Nigerian university requires smartness. The slogan is WORK SMART, not work hard. Unlike the smart ones, those who worked hard made the following errors:

1. They were busy trying to read all literary texts given to them.

What makes you think you can read over 60 literary texts given to you by your lecturers in 12 or 13 weeks without having problems in your language courses? Time will definitely fail you!

If you must succeed in English department, you must know what text to read. Read some, and get detailed summaries (online) for others. Summaries do us a lot of good.

2. They fail to present their essays properly

In English department, proper presentation of materials when answering a question is necessary for passing. You may get the correct answer to a question, but if your answer is not articulated, you may not get full marks.

In other words, you must be a good writer to earn good grades in English department. This is one thing you must learn to do effortlessly.

ALSO READ: How To Calculate Your GPA and CGPA in a 5-Point Grading System

3. They didn't study with open minds

Many English students study with closed minds. An open mind is needed to succeed in the department. The course needs one's mind to be open, flexible and creative.

Don't be too comfortable with your own knowledge or with what your lecturer has taught you in class. Get novel ideas from people, go beyond classroom lectures to know more, and creatively merge these ideas to form unique contents.

4. They failed to pay attention to details

70% of English lecturers indirectly tell their students in lecture rooms the type of questions they should expect in their exams and how to answer them. It takes only a smart student to understand such implicit message and prepare ahead of time.

If you are not smart enough to understand this message, you should be wise enough to ask your senior colleagues about how your lecturers operate their likes and dislikes with regard to exams.

5. They studied without past questions

Many English students prepare for a course without making reference its past questions. Take it or leave it, past questions are beautiful guides. They prepare your mind on what to expect in a particular course, especially when that course is being taught by the same lecturer.

After reading for a particular course, try to answer the past questions of that course until you are satisfied. You will be happy to see your pen move with ease on your paper should any of these past questions appear in an exam.

One of the annoying facts of studying English in school is making a poor grade in a course you feel you have written well.

Don't you think one of the aforementioned reasons is the cause? I graduated with a CGPA of 4.08 from the Department of English and Literary Studies, Niger Delta University. I won't say I worked hard; I worked smart instead.

I urge you to work smart too. Understand the English department, and you shall prosper!

Advantages and Disadvantages of Staying in School Hostels