NIGERIA:Instant fund transfer tops e-payment transactions with N22.6trn in 8 months

Instant electronic fund transfer, otherwise known as instant payments (NIPs), seems to be the darling of Nigerians when it comes to alternative cash payments in the country as about N22.6trillion passed through the platform in eight months.
Industry figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), from January to August 2016, show that Point of Sale (PoS), Automated Teller Machine(ATM) and Mobile Phone Money also witnessed an uptick in transactions unlike paper-based payments, like cheque, that took a downward spiral.
Analysis of the data shows that NIPs’ volume stood at almost 81 million valuing N22.584 trillion as against 7.774 million of cheques whose worth was just N3.85trillion.
Instant electronics transfer (NIPs) is an e-payment platform that is instant, less than two minutes to be effective, and it is usually made for single or individual funds transfer, while its twin-platform, National Electronic Fund Transfer(NEFT), is best suited for bulk transfers like salary upload and takes a minimum of 24 hours to be effective because it has to go through clearing process.
As for PoS, volume of transaction for the period was put at about 35.78 million valued at about N432 billion. Last year alone, PoS transactions in the country closed at about N448.513billion, representing 44 per cent increase over the N312.072 billion of the previous year.
In all, transactions worth of about N1.193trillion were done through the 75,000 active PoS in the country since 2014 up to the end of August 2016
Commenting on this recently, the  Director, Banks and Payment Systems Department of CBN, Mr Dipo Fatokun, said: “We have above 100,000 terminals. The number of active PoS at end of August was 75,000. We have made a lot of progress be cause at the end of 2011, Nigeria had 5,000 PoS. But in 2016, we have 75,000 active PoS.
What do we mean by active PoS? An active PoS is PoS that is used for transaction, at least once in a month.”
Fatokun admitted that infrastructure is a major challenge to achieving a seamless operation, saying that CBN would soon introduce a mobile PoS—EMPOS—which enables one to transact business on voice.
“The major infrastructure in POS is connectivity and it is because of this that the mobile POS—the EMPOS—is coming into the market. The way mobile PoS works is such that, if the signal strength is not even enough or as high as what you will need for a desktop PoS, if the signal strength is enough for you to make a voice call, your transactions can still go through. That is why the industry is embracing this mobile PoS. And as more of them is being deployed, you will see a higher level of successful transactions. That is one. The other thing is that we are discussing with the telcos through their regulator, which is the National Communications Commission (NCC). A lot of discussion is ongoing”, he added.
As for transactions done through ATM and mobile money, they stood at about N1.512 trillion and N181.7 billion respectively.
A breakdown shows that, so far this year, ATM recorded about N381.67billion from about 45.81million transactions. But from 2013 to 2015, the amount stood at about N1.13 trillion done via over 124.79million withdrawals and retraction or savings. Overall, during the nearly four-year period, business conducted by bank customers through the ATM machine was N1.512 trillion.
As for Mobile Money platform, its users conducted deals worth about N46.47billion from last January to March, while, from 2013 to 2015, the figure jumped above  N135.242 billion. Mobile Money is set to record the highest transaction value so far this year going by its performance in the first three months of the year, which was above the N41.141 billion and N44.65billion recorded in 2013 and 2014 respectively.