The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System says it is developing retail payments in the country with mCash solution, which it says will intensify financial inclusion.
According to the NIBSS, it is collaborating with four operators of Global System for Mobile and several banks to drive the solution.
Ade Shonubi, The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, NIBSS, said the product became necessary to make the financial inclusion vision 2020 a reality. The vision seeks to achieve 80 per cent uptake among Nigerians, according to him.
He said, “mCash is an innovative solution designed to facilitate low-value retail payments, providing accessible electronic channels to a wider range of users and to further grow financial inclusion in Nigeria, by extending electronic payment services to payers and merchants at the bottom of the pyramid.”
The NIBSS boss commended the partners for opting to serve the country’s overall interest through a hybrid model rather than the current bank-led model.
Adia Sowho, The Director, Digital Business, Etisalat Nigeria, commended the NIBSS and the partners for the product, which she described as a “new thinking in the right direction” that would benefit all stakeholders and propel the drive for financial inclusion.
“The mCash payment solution is a commendable innovative solution that has further driven inclusion in the financial world and widened payment options to guarantee seamless ease of payment. Etisalat has been at the vanguard of this with such innovative products as EasyWallet and GTEasySavers, which are born out of the union with a leading commercial bank, Guarantee Trust Bank Plc. We are glad at the opportunity to reach more people with more payment options,” she said.
The Central Bank of Nigeria has expressed optimism about the product’s ability to drive financial inclusion, targeted at 80 per cent of the people by 2020.
The CBN’s Principal Manager, Payment System Policy and Oversight Office, Joe Obogo, who represented the Director, Banking and Payments System, at the unveiling of the product, added that the apex bank would “not relent in its efforts to achieve full financial inclusion, but rather keep looking out for more innovative ways to do things better.”
The mCash payment option leverages the mobile phone USSD technology, which in recent times has become the most accessible channel for processing financial and non-financial transactions.
A general USSD short code is made available for banks that do not have their own short codes. However, banks with existing USSD short codes will be able to access this service using their own short codes, according to the NIBSS.