By NBF News

BUOYED by unrelenting campaigns being championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria on the need for a cashless economy, First Bank of Nigeria Plc has introduced FirstPay, an alternative payment channel that saves time and money.

FirstPay is a web-based payment platform that is designed and developed to allow customers directly effect payment instructions from their offices anytime in a very secure and efficient manner.

Since this solution to the challenge of physical transactions is available over the web, payments and authorizations can be done regardless of location, as long as there is internet connectivity.

According to officials of First Bank, FirstPay enables corporate organisations initiate and conclude payments without relying on the branch to process the transactions.

'The real cost of time is never really appreciated until strains attributable to lost man-hours leave gaping holes in the bottom line of businesses. Getting around unending tortuous traffic and busy work schedules have since made leaving the office for banking transactions an expensive venture as the thought of having to spend additional time on queues in the banking halls is by no means flattering.

'FirstPay enables corporate organisations initiate and conclude payments without relying on the branch to process on their behalf, efficient and timely payment of beneficiaries especially time critical payments, and approval of payments can be done from anywhere in the world regardless of the location of the authorizers.

'The solution is most suitable for clients who carry out bulk payments against their accounts in form of salary payment, vendor/supplier payment, e-dividend, pensions, etc regardless of account bank.'

Corporate organisations
Parts of the benefits of FirstPay include providing a platform for corporate organizations to execute their payment instructions without first sending a physical instruction to the bank and waiting for the bank to effect the instructions.

FirstPay allows the initiation of an instruction by uploading the instruction in an approved file format. Following the upload, the transaction authorizer is notified by e-mail and/or SMS with the payment authorization code which enables the authorizer approve payments, with corresponding debit and credit entries passed automatically.

One of the unique features of the product is that it is available to setup clients through a browser and does not require any special infrastructure or additional investment on the part of the client other than an internet connection.

FirstPay allows customers to perform a wide range of functions including checking balances, viewing consolidated bank account balances across banks, and the e-cheque platform.

The e-cheque platform enables users to issue and upload e-cheques (for vendor/supplier payments); register/upload beneficiaries, issue standing orders, and purchase e-cheque book.

It also provides platforms for e-salaries and reports, and administration. For e-salaries, customers are enabled to register/upload beneficiaries, upload salaries, and upload schedules.

The Reports platform gives customers prompt information on payments made, payments received, payment schedule and audit trail.

The Administration leg of the FirstPay provides a platform for confirming banking details, corporate information, approval group, approval workflow, set-up card (virtual card that enables passing of entries), and password change.