Do you remember the early 90s? If you are over the age of 30, then you probably do. Third Mainland Bridge was always free. Abuja was still a sleepy, civil servants’ city. Everyone’s must-have gadget was the Sony Walkman and the car that turned heads on the street was the Peugeot 505 ST. The only way to pay NEPA and Water Corporation bills was to queue for hours in the nearest bank, present the cash to an irritable cashier, collect the teller, then queue up again at the utility office to present the teller and get a receipt.
By the mid-2000s, we already had GSM networks, smartphones, mobile Internet, ATMs and Internet banking. Towards the end of that decade, a few adventurous individuals were warming up to using electronic platforms to make bill payments. For the vast majority of people though, the everlasting queues and paperwork remained a fixture in every sort of bill payment – electricity, water, TV subscription, tax and everything in between.
Fast forward to 2015; smartphones are now everywhere, from Jalingo to Ikeja. Access to 3G and 4G internet connections is available in most parts of Nigeria. Just about every utility provider accepts electronic transactions. Seemingly, every bank has a friendly Android, iOS, Windows or Blackberry app in addition to an online banking interface that permits users to pay all manners of bills online. Quickteller, Nigeria’s largest multi-channel payments platform offers online payments to close to a thousand businesses and organizations.
These days, I no longer have to leave my sofa to pay my electricity bill or renew my DSTV subscription or even pay, for my refuse collection. Big contrast to how my dad had to dedicate an entire day back in the days.