Mobile payments system, also known as mobile banking in the country has recorded a total of 15 million transactions since the inception of the scheme in 2012 with 58 million subscribers while the total value of the transactions till date is N430 billion.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, Head, Payment System Policy and Oversight Division of Banking and Payments Department, Musa Itopa-Jimoh, disclosed this on Monday at the 2014 workshop organised by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) for finance correspondents and Business Editors in Katsina.
He spoke on a paper entitled, “Payments: Overview of Mobile Payments Services Framework in Nigeria.”
Itopa-Jimoh said it was made possible by the efforts of over 78,000 agents and 21 licensed mobile money operators in the country. The 21 mobile institutions, he said, returned a minimum of N14 million on monthly bases.
He added that like in many countries which have recorded successes in mobile banking, Nigeria has given approval to telecommunication companies (Telcos) to participate in agent banking.
Itopa-Jimoh said Telcos can take advantage of its outlets and credit card vendors by turning them into agents who will assist Nigerians who intend to open tier1 account.
This, according to him, would create a huge number of financial networks of taking banking to the unbanked in the nooks and crannies of the country, while effort is at an advance stage to take advantage of the Nigerian Postal Services Authority (NIPOST) to use their outlets across the country into mobile agents’ outlets.
Speaking on why the CBN excludes Telcos from leading any of the mobile money schemes,he said the CBN does not have regulatory oversight over them.
Another reason why the CBN excludes the Telcos from leading mobile money schemes was settlement risk because they are not deposit money banks who are licensed to partake in clearing activities.
He added that collateral management may become a big issue since the Telcos don’t place any collateral pledges with CBN.
The CBN, he said is keen on promoting the safety and effectiveness of mobile payments services in Nigeria and that the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders have been clearly articulated in the mobile payments framework and guidelines.
“We take our oversight responsibility seriously to ensure that deposits in the mobile payments system are safe and transactions are securely executed,” he added.
Speaking on risk inherent in mobile payments systems, Kingsley Nwaigwe, Deputy Director, Research, Policy and International Relations Department of NDIC, said there are three ways which financial loss could occur in the mobile payment systems.
These are through theft by MMO; through the payment agents and through the deposit money banks who are custodian of the pool account, particularly if the licensed bank is closed.
On conditions and challenges for deposit insurance coverage for mobile payment operators, Nwaigwe said an MMO pool account must be so designated in deposit money bank and that an MMO must provided the identity of its subscribers through rendition of periodic returns account to the supervisory authorities as banks do.
However, Nwaigwe said with the adoption of Pass-Through Insurance (PTI), the corporation will be able to extend deposit insurance coverage to mobile payments subscribers and would also help to fulfil the NDIC public policy objective of engendering public confidence in the banking system.
He added that the extension of deposit insurance cover to subscribers of mobile money would encourage the use of mobile money platform thereby contributing to financial inclusion and ensuring financial system stability in Nigeria.