" ITREALMS: 3Line unwraps Freedom Network platform for un-banked

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

3Line unwraps Freedom Network platform for un-banked

A licensee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for operating of an end-to-end electronic payment (e-payment) infrastructure, 3Line Card Management Limited, has unwrapped it’s Freedom Network platform to strategically accommodate the unbanked in the country.

Speaking at the official unwrapping ceremony held in Lagos, the General Manager, 3Line Card Management Limited, Mrs. Funke Ade-Ojo said that the Freedom Network platform conforms to the guidelines of CBN for entrenching electronic payment and covering the unbanked and unserved in the nation’s financial coverage.

She said based on CBN regulatory guidelines that her company designed, developed and implemented a pre-banked model for both merchants and customers, which provides needed anti-fraud guarantees for all stakeholders and participants on the Freedom Network.

This platform, she said, aims to bring about expansion of the aspiration of good percentage of Nigerians in under-served and un-served communities across the country by making available for them a secured platform and infrastructure that is open to all.

Mrs. Ade-Ojo disclosed that 3Line plans to attract the informal sector into the network through the deployment of Point-of-Sale (POS) devices to provide universal service access to financial and light banking services known as ‘Street Banking.’

She explained that Street Banking is a customer friendly and cost effective way of providing secure, light banking services to groups of people in a community using existing merchants within the same community who are known and trusted.

“To achieve this, we are collaborating with some banks and other payment providers to build an end-to-end integrated infrastructure through a common platform,” she said.

Freedom cards, she said, are already accepted on the Interswitch network for the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) cash withdrawal countrywide.

“We began tests with the National Central Switch, and have collaborated with several technology and marketing service providers. This is a herculean task and one we recognize requires co-operation,” she declared, stressing that the likes of FinBank, First Bank and several other banks have since embraced the platform with expression of positive interest to collaborate on Freedom Network.

Banks, she said, are strategic to the successful roll out of the Freedom Network, mainly because the Freedom card would be issued to the users on the platform.

Freedom card, she said, is an Europay, MasterCard and VISA, which is a global standard for inter-operation of Integrated Circuit (IC) cards chip, plus Personal Identification Number (PIN) smartcard and is available in the market with security benefits, online and offline capability.

Mrs. Ade-Ojo underscored the edge Freedom cards have over other cards, saying it has Dynamic Data Authentication (DDA) technology, while other cards use mostly Static Data Authentication (SDA).

“Our DDA card protects the users against cloning and hacking in ways the other cards cannot. It also enables off-line transactions. With this capability, Freedom cardholders have the opportunity to transact business on the PoS terminal in rural areas and the city even when communication signals are poor,” she explained.

Responding to questions, the Group Head, Information Technology (IT) and Strategic Marketing at 3Line Card Management Limited, Mr. Toyin Oloniteru, said that Freedom Network is to boost infrastructure used in processing of electronic payment for low value transactions.

“Thus, the first and only e-payment company to design a bouquet of network services for the bottom of the pyramid,” he said.

Oloniteru described Freedom Network as a community of banks, service providers, government agencies and merchants that offer instant financial services such as cash withdrawal, money transfer, airtime vending, ticketing, pay-as-you-go vehicle insurance and utility bill payment at authorized retail shops and service points within a given neighbourhoods.

He pointed out that the brand’s objectives include the provision of a single, common platform to provide street banking services to stakeholders, provider of financial and non-financial services in Nigeria.

Remmy Nweke:
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