News Flash: Interswitch just killed Nigerian e-commerce.

Short background story: On 13/05/2013 I decided to renew my subscription and like is my normal practice, I headed to  After entering my card details, PIN and CVV number I was redirected to a never seen before page where I was told to enter an SMS OTP (one time password) that had been sent to my phone number, before my transaction could be consummated.

I waited……..and waited…….. and waited………..and as at the time of penning this post (15/05/2013) I am still waiting for the OTP from the almighty Interswitch.[1]

I thought it was just restricted to just which is owned by Interswitch, so I headed to, went through the normal loops, was directed to GTpay which redirected me to Interswitch webpay and that “SMS OTP” nonsense came up again, until now, there has been no SMS from them. After getting frustrated, I had to walk down the road and buy a physical card which is something I have not done in like 2 years or so[2].

How Interswitch killed e-commerce in Nigeria

Enforcing SMS One Time Password’s : “Twitter, Facebook, Google are doing 2 factor authentication, why don’t we?”. Whoever thought about sending one time passwords to mobile phones of e-commerce transaction initiator must have been high on some cheap shoe glue. This is Nigeria where Telcos can do whatever they want, a place where you can send an SMS that you will be charged for but might never have delivered, so it kind of beats me why anyone would base the success of an e-commerce transaction on the mercy of an unreliable factor like SMS delivery. Even if they wanted to prevent unauthorized usage of debit cards, I am online already and Interswitch has my email address, so why doesn’t Interswitch send their so-called OTP to my email address? at least email delivery is more reliable than SMS [3]. This new feature is an ill thought out one and needs to be trashed or suspended until Nigerian Telcos become more reliable.


[1] On observation, I noticed that the first time you initiate a transaction, the sms OTP gets delivered promptly but if you are doing a series of transactions in quick succession, the other OTP’s never get delivered to your mobile phone. I don’t know if it’s a network latency issue or a delay put in by Interswitch to prevent gaming their system.

[2] I do not know of anyone who would need something done urgently online and would actually wait for Interswitch without abandoning the transaction just like I did.

[3] This is not rocket science because as long as my supplied email address isn’t wrong, the email will get to me almost immediately.


9 thoughts on “News Flash: Interswitch just killed Nigerian e-commerce.

  1. Hello bros. The safe token thing is optionally you didn’t mention that in this article. So they havnt killed anything have used QT several times since they introduce it with no hussle. We have gone pass condemming interswitch in this e-commerce game , if you have a problem with them create your own switching platform like what am working one.

    1. The OTP isnt optional. you have to enter the code they send to you within a minute or your transaction gets cancelled. Most times, you never receive the OTP. I have abandoned so many transactions due to this failure and e-commerce sites have been denied of income. So how has Interswitch not killed ecommerce?

  2. Sometimes I wonder if interswitch employs staff to troll websites. OTP is not optional,nobody gave me an option before they enforced it on me.
    I got this details from two different banks that i have accounts with. Now you can not even buy 500 naira credit online.

    S/N Merchant Amount
    1. Schools, Associations etc N1m and above
    2. Airlines, Religious Institutions etc N1m and above
    3. Billers, Online Shopping Sites etc N25,000 and above
    4. Airtime and mobile money vendors etc Any amount

    1. Adeleke , I have serious issues with interswitch just like the registeration requirement u stated here, but I won’t spread wrong gist about them.
      It only a web strategy to make the safe token option very visible to encourage user to use it, but that doesn’t make it complusory.
      Take time to open the image I posted for better clearity.
      FYI I recharge my phone regularly using QT on ATM so it not totally interstwich fault that u can do that on the web, there are other factors also.

    1. Unfortunately up till now the OTP thing doesnt work.

      Is this a ploy to stop all online transactions?
      Why is Nigeria such a HARD place? We are forced to go cashless and then even the cashless channels have a million and one road blocks?

  3. I just found this post after trying to pay for my Swift data plan for almost an hour now.

    The soft token thing was optional at a point but now it seems its mandatory.

    I’ve tried to pay twice and both times I’ve gotten the OTP. But here’s the thing, I get the code 20 mins later and the code has a 10 minute expiry. What sort of cruel joke is that?

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