Mobile Payments Rise 184% to Reach N828bn
Financial transactions conducted by mobile money operators received a major boost in 2019 as the value of payments grew by 184 per cent from N292.02bn recorded in 2018.
In 2019, the latest data obtained from the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement Scheme showed that N828.1bn worth of payments were executed by mobile money agents in the country.
The volume of mobile payments also grew by 470 per cent as agents aggregated 41.21 million payments in 2019 compared with 7.23 million in 2018.
NIBSS provides a platform for players in mobile payments to enable them to interoperate with banks and other financial institutions so as to offer a variety of services to their clients and subscribers.
There has been a steady growth in the value and volume of mobile payments since the Central Bank of Nigeria, in collaboration with other stakeholders, introduced the agency banking scheme to reach the unbanked and under-banked population with financial services and deepen financial inclusion.
The agent networks are able to carry out BVN enrolment, cash-in, cash-out, airtime recharge, bills payment and funds transfer for customers in remote areas.
In January 2019, the transactions grew by 28 per cent to N26.83bn from N20.95bn in January 2018.
In the following month, payments carried out by mobile money agents amounted to N30.03bn as against N22.40bn in February 2018, growing by 34 per cent.
Mobile payments deals in March 2019 reached N38.44bn, increasing by 58 per cent as against N24.39bn in the same period in 2018.
According to NIBSS records, mobile payment deals which were N23.98bn in April 2018, grew by 73 per cent to N41.55bn in April 2019.
The transactions worth N46.85bn was recorded in May 2019, growing by 85 per cent from N25.24bn recorded in the same period in 2018.
In June 2019, mobile payments grew by 92 per cent from N23.62bn to N45.28bn.
In July 2019, mobile payments deals reached N60.13bn, expanding by 155 per cent from N23.55bn recorded in the corresponding period in 2018.
Further analyses indicated that in August 2019, mobile payments worth N84.81bn were carried out as against payments valued at N26.79bn in the same month in 2018, recording 217 per cent growth.
NIBSS data indicated that mobile transactions worth N87.50bn were conducted in September 2019, growing by 244 per cent from N25.46bn recording in the same period in 2018.
Industry data showed that in October 2019, mobile payments worth N103.67bn were transacted, expanding by 373 per cent compared to October 2018, which had N21.92bn mobile payments.
Similarly, in November last year, mobile payments grew by 346 per cent to reach N114.04bn from N25.59bn in the corresponding month in 2018.
December 2019 saw mobile payments carried out by agent networks across the country reach N148.97bn, growing by 429 per cent from N28.14bn in the same month in 2018.
The CBN had last year issued super-agent licences to many financial technology companies, who in turn deployed agency banking services to remote locations across the country in order to facilitate and deliver convenient, accessible and cost-effective financial services.
The CBN, as part of its reforms in 2018, also gave telecommunications companies an opportunity to increase financial inclusion rates through the use of phone numbers to facilitate payments.
MTN was granted a super-agent licence, which allowed it to set up an agent network that has started providing financial services to its existing subscriber base.
Also, 9mobile and Globacom have been granted Approval in Principle to operate a payment service bank in readiness for the financial transactions.
In line with the increasing volume and value of mobile payments, active Point of Sales terminals used by super agents have also been on the rise.
NIBSS’ data indicated that the number active PoS terminals grew by 40 per cent in one year from 217,283 terminals in December 2018 to 303,162 terminals as of December 2019.
Meanwhile, mobile money agents complained that network disruptions and technology glitches were contributing significantly to declined transactions, thereby impacting their bottom line as most of the issues were not resolved by banks in a timely manner.
They noted that declined transactions were high during peak transaction periods and festive seasons.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer, Shared Agent Network Expansion Facility, Ronke Kuye, explained that it had partnered with the banks on how to resolve issues faced by super agents in a timely manner.
“What we do at SANEF is that we work with the banks to make sure they resolve any of the customer’s complaints from the agents,” Kuye added.
According to her, the facility is designing a comprehensive training and processes for resolving issues between the super agents and banks.
The President, Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria, Olusola Teniola, noted that the operations of the mobile money agents and banks were highly dependent on communications network.
He said there was a need to roll out more telecom infrastructure and improve the quality of service in order to meet increasing financial services demands.