Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is an e-payment card?
  • What types of e-payment cards are available?
  • Can the same bank account have more than one e-payment card associated with it?
  • Can store cards be considered to be e-payment cards?
  • Where can I obtain Payment Cards in Nigeria?
  • Where and how can I use my Payment Cards in Nigeria?
  • Who is a merchant?
  • What does it take for a merchant to accept Payment Card payments?

What is an e-payment card?

  • An e-payment card is a payment instrument, usually in the form of a plastic card, provided by the “issuer” (issuing institution) to the cardholder so that he/she by accessing a telecommunications network and based on the account associated with the card, may purchase goods or services, make payments, withdraw cash and/or conduct other transactions.
  • The e-payment card allows the holder to validate the transaction that he/she wishes to carry out.

Types of e-payment cards

  • Debit card: This card is associated with a current/savings account. When the cardholder uses it for payments, cash withdrawals at ATMs or transfers, the corresponding amount is debited from the holder’s current/savings account instantly. This means that there is an equivalent reduction in the demand deposit account balance. This type of card is best described by its debit function. A debit card allows its holder to “buy now and pay now”. It is therefore more convenient and safer to carry than cash or cheques.
  • Credit card: This card is associated with a “card account” and a credit line. When the cardholder uses this card to make payments or obtain cash advances, he/she benefits from a credit line extended by the issuer (which may or may not be a bank). Therefore this type of card is best described by its credit functions. A credit card allows its holder to “buy now and pay later”.
  • Prepaid Card: This card is equipped with a Chip that allows the cardholder to load money unto it. Usually it is limited to a pre-set maximum amount. When it is used, there is a corresponding reduction in the available amount. This type of card is best described by its prepaid functions. A typical example is Unified Payments e-purse. A pre-paid card allows its holder to pay now and buy later.
  • In terms of capabilities, an e-payment card can be a single or a multi-function card.
    a) Single function card: This card exclusively performs a single function, which by its classification means that the card is used to perform a single activity i.e. payment or cash withdrawal.

    b) Dual or multi-function card: This card type combines more than one type of function e.g. a card that has payment capabilities as well as capability to support other non-payment activities e.g. access control, storage of pension or health insurance data.

  • By their physical attributes, e-payment cards can be Magnetic Stripe or CHIP based.
    a) Magnetic stripe card: This type of card, often times called Magstripe Card, stores the cardholder’s data on a black band of magnetic material on the back of the card. The magnetic stripe is read by physical contact with an acquiring device through insertion or swiping of the card through a reading device.

    b) Chip card: A Chip card is a plastic card whose cardholder data is stored in a miniature integrated circuit material embedded on the front face of the card. It has various tamper-resistant properties which makes it more secure than the Magstripe card. It is popularly referred to as “smart card”.

Chip cards can store encrypted confidential information such as account data which is extremely difficult to copy. Alongside its function of being used as a credit or debit card, it can also be used as an Access Control, Health, and/or a Social Insurance card, amongst other functionalities.

Can the same bank account have more than one e-payment card associated with it?

  • Yes. For instance, a family head may request his bank to issue Payment cards to one or more members of his family linked to his primary card account. Also, a company can request several corporate or travel cards for its officers, all linked to the company’s account.

Can store cards be considered to be e-payment cards?

  • No. Cards issued exclusively (e.g. supermarket chains and oil companies) are not e-payment cards. These are store cards or retailer cards which allow payments only bat the stores issuing them. They cannot be used at ATMs or other merchants’ Point of Sale terminals. Their use may however translate into discounts and/or credit for the cardholder.

Who is a merchant?

  • A merchant is any business outfit that accepts e-payment card as a means of payment in exchange for goods or services.

What does it take for a merchant to accept Payment Cards?

Simple! The prospective merchant simply signs up with Unified Payment Services Limited, so that Unified Payments can deploy Point of Sale device to his/her outlet.