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Monday, February 16, 2009

Intercontinental Verve card debuts

Intercontinental Bank Plc has launched a multiple chip and Personal Identification Number (PIN)-based electronic card, known as ‘Intercontinental Verve Card,’ thus making it the first bank in the country to introduce such a card.

Speaking during the launch at the bank’s corporate headquarters in Lagos, the Group Chief Executive, Intercontinental Bank Plc, Dr. Erastus Akingbola, said his bank is the first to officially launch the Verve chip and PIN loyalty card, which is created by Nigerians for the global market.

Describing the occasion as a feat for the bank, Akingbola commended the electronic banking cum card services group of the bank for their spirited efforts at ensuring that Intercontinental remain a trail blazer in the deployment of Verve cards.

“Today’s ceremony is another celebration of another feat as Intercontinental Bank through today’s event becomes the first Nigerian bank to issue the Verve chip and PIN with loyalty card created in Nigeria for the world,” he said.

Stressing that with this development, a new symbol of technological progress is making headlines in the Nigerian e-banking industry.

Recalling that last year, the apex bank in the country, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had mandated all banks to comply with the issuance of chip and PIN based and Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV) compliant cards, before the end of second quarter of 2009.

In line with this, he said, Intercontinental Bank Plc has upgraded all its channels to honour transactions initiated from these kinds of cards.

“Our staff from relevant departments were also trained on different aspects bordering on card operations, card issuance, business and product development dynamics set around the functionalities of these cards,” he said.

Presently, Akingbola pointed out that his bank has taken delivery of two brands of chip (Verve) cards and is working on the modalities involved in migrating all its customers to the new enhanced and more secured EMV chip and PIN Verve payment card on the InterSwitch platform.

Also speaking, Managing Director of pioneer electronic payment switching company, InterSwitch Limited, Mr. Mitchell Elegbe, explained that Verve is a chip based card that offers more security to the end-user than was ever available in the e-payment solution in the country.

“Verve was manufactured by Nigeria for the world,” he said, reiterating that the product debut was in compliance with the CBN directive to banks to migrate all card in the country to a truly global chip card.

“We want to ensure that Verve is used across Africa and I want to assure you that it could be used in any Intercontinental Bank Automated Teller Machines (ATMs),” he said.

According to him, the card has the ability to execute biometric functions, noting that Intercontinental cards could be identified with the bank’s name and logo, even as the reward system is built into the Verve card.

“Verve card is a step up from what currently existed,” he said, pointing out that there exist various reward formula including instant discount, coupon, point accumulation.

Equally, Divisional Head, e-banking at Intercontinental Bank Plc, Mrs. Chinyere Don Okofo, said that the bank is not likely to introduce any form of additional charge to migrate to Verve card.

“Our customers have been using their cards well discounted,” she said, assuring that Verve has a strong loyalty platform upon which the bank intends to reward customers who use it through Point of Sale (PoS), web purchases and ATM transactions very handsomely.

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