The challenge of ‘change’
One way of defining the word ‘Change’, according to Encarta dictionary is ‘making or becoming different’. However, in Nigeria, the word ‘change’ is used in a different, yet interesting way. Whenever you are about to enter a bus, you are reminded to come in with your ‘change’, whenever you want to buy anything from your local store, they never have ‘change’.
Literally speaking, this means that, ‘change’ is the smallest possible denomination equal to the cost of goods purchased or services rendered. It is also the surplus expected back after your payment in a particular naira denomination exceeds the exact required amount.
For example, I buy N50 boli from the roadside, I pay with N200, and then get N150 in change.
The problem with giving or getting change in Nigeria however, is its scarcity.
Now, what is the cause of this scarcity? Easy: by default, most ATM machines dispense only N1,000 notes despite the fact that most basic daily transactions require far lower denominations. This simply means that people either have to change money at bank counters or buy something [whether or not it is really expedient] so as to have some change [and the latter is usually the case].
The scarcity of change affects almost every middle-class and low-class citizen on a daily basis. It affects almost every small & medium scale business especially the transportation sector.
It is grossly inconvenient for a business owner to leave his business or send a staff to go change money at the bank. It is grossly inconvenient and extremely wasteful for me to buy something I do not need just because there is no change. POS terminals are doing a fine job of cashless payments but they are yet to be adopted by most businesses. Question is: is there a smooth, sweet & perhaps sexy way to tackle this daily menace? The answer is a capital YES!
Enter, Special duty ATM’s
It is solely for the convenience of banks and bank workers that ATM’s do not dispense lower denominations. There is no CBN law forbidding it (the last time I checked!). Now, in line with the vision of most banks to be leading financial institutions, with the best people, providing unequalled customer experience and delivering superior shareholder value, I believe they can redefine the norm and correct this anomaly.
By having special duty ATM’s that dispense lower denominations in a precise way, ordinary citizens will be able to live easier every single day. Such ATM’s would have to be bigger and/or require more frequent cash loading. Here are the options:
These ATM’s preloaded with all naira denominations, will have the ability to dispense different denominations at one withdrawal. For example, I need twenty N50 notes and fifty N100 notes (a total of N6000); first, I type in the exact amount I want to withdraw (N6000), then I simply specify the amount of each denomination I want (twenty N50 notes and fifty N100 notes) into the ATM!
Different ATM’s dispense different denominations. This means that you have an ATM that dispenses N5, another dispenses N10, another: N20 and so on. Though I presume this option would better suit banks, it may or may not best suit customers.
I am sure of two things:
One, almost overnight, ATM’s of the bank that first adopts this idea would become the most patronized as word-of-mouth will greatly aid the fame of this service. From the student/worker who wants to board a bus to the business woman by the roadside, an ultimate search for change would become a thing of the past. As long as potential customers are appropriately engaged at each contact point (in this case, lighting up the surrounding area of the ATM machines and the ATM itself with beautiful, intuitive ads), new customers will sign up with or ‘port’ to the bank.
Two, other banks would attempt to copy this bold move but will be perceived as copy-cats as it would have registered in people’s minds that a particular bank was the first to launch special duty ATM’s.
Since this is the first of its kind, it will undoubtedly cement the image of that bank not only as every one’s bank but an innovative, cutting edge bank while boosting their brand profile, inevitably causing a massive influx of new customers and euphoria among old ones.
May the smartest bank win.
Ogunbowale Olugbenga, C.E.O Epower, is a vast, fast rising brand strategist & lyricist with four years’ experience in visual branding & a dream to see Africa branded. A 2013 graduate of the department of Psychology, Obafemi Awolowo University, He was most recently nominated as the most outstanding young Nigerian by Junior Chamber International and his story ‘BIOLA’ was selected as one of the top 20 in Africa in the yet to be concluded Etisalat prize for Flash Fiction.
In 2006, He represented Wesley College of Science & presented the most outstanding project in Oyo state at the Junior Engineers and Technicians project exhibition and went on to represent Oyo state at the National level. In October 2012, He emerged as winner of the inaugural edition of Social Sciences Faculty prize for best departmental presentation at OAU. As of now, He has created over 400 internationally & locally acclaimed PowerPoint slides & 620 graphical designs for top organizations and individuals, with over 2,100 people trained via live seminars.
As a testament to his passion for capacity development, nation building, creative thinking & strategic execution, He has coordinated and volunteered at several community empowerment initiatives including FeedOne project which fed & empowered over 4,000 families in Akure, Ife & Lagos on the 21st of Dec, 2013. In November 2013, He facilitated at 10/10: a regional impact tour by Global Paradigm Shifters to over 1,000 Secondary School Students, delivering Powerful Lessons in Purpose & Leadership for the emergence of Africa’s next vibrant & visionary young leaders.
His clients trust him with their Logo, banner, poster, business Card, flyer, wallpaper, display picture, facebook cover, bill board, flex banner and roll-up banner designs, and its him they call when they need scintillating, attention grabbing PowerPoint slides. He’s also very famous for hosting exceptionally sensational ICT trainings including epower’s ‘Learn from the Best Series’.
He passionately and professionally renders expert advice on how to write business plans/proposals, name brands, invent smashing slogans, position, promote & protect brands.
For inspiring write-ups, effective branding and for an insightful, intuitive, engaging & absolutely empowering result oriented speaker at your next ICT, leadership or capacity building event, Ogunbowale Olugbenga is the one to call.