By Michael Kachitsa
Interswitch is a payment processing company headquartered in Lagos.
Interswitch was founded in 2002 by Mitchell Elegbe. In 2010 two thirds of the company was sold to a consortium led by Helios Investment Partners. In 2011 Interswitch took a 60 per cent stake in Bankom in Uganda. In 2013 Interswitch entered into an agreement for payment processing with Discover Financial Services. In September 2014 the company acquired a majority shareholding in Paynet Group, an East-African payments provider.
In 2015 Interswitch launched a $10m investment fund for African start-ups in the payments sector. In February 2018, Interswitch unveiled its SPAK National Science Competition to promote and reward excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Nigeria.
Interswitch uses a ‘switching’ infrastructure to connect the different banks in Nigeria and provides technology for ATM cards. The company has over 11,000 ATMs on its network. Interswitch is the owner of Verve, Nigeria’s most used payment card, accounting for 18 million of the 25 million cards in circulation in the country. Verve has also been launched in Kenya.
Interswitch also owns Quickteller, an online payments platform; Retailpay, a mobile business management platform; and Smartgov, an identity management and e-payment infrastructure for state governments. Interswitch has also very recently acquired VANSO, a mobile-focused technology provider to banks. This new acquisition will result in VANSO’s mobile banking, SMS and security business lines being fully integrated into Interswitch’s digital commerce and technology operations in Nigeria, and across the Africa.