Electronic Payment: Are Nigerians Finding It Attractive and Cool ?

 

Nigerians are getting smarter and more sophisticated today, they have embraced electronic transcripts and payment of goods are done with cards more than cash. With PoS machines and USSD codes gaining grounds. Even some beggars today carry PoS machine. That’s the new economy and electronic transaction the new driver. Welcome to the new Nigerian economy, where everything is going digital in a fast and alarming pace.

You know people will think that this cashless thing isn’t making sense, until my wife paid for chicken in a nearby store….I was thinking that ” Oh paying with credit and debit card is reserved for the tush and sophisticated ones in technology ” but I was mistaken. In a nearby pub in my neighborhood, drink a bottle and pay with your PoS , you can even get someone to make you “comfortable” and pay with any electronic means. That’s what those that have been there say but this is to demonstrate the high level of acceptance the electronic payment is getting in the country.

For my wife who isn’t tripped by tech to pay for fish with card and buy delightful bread and ice cream with card….then we must appreciate that the cashless transaction is gaining momentum. It’s safe and better, though with teething problem that rest on the back of servers than the banks…I must commend the cashless people and firms like, Interswitch, PayPal , Visa, MasterCard Vogue pay , Verve, PayU and so many others that ensures that Nigerians are getting used to paying for items with cards.

As the electronic transaction is gaining momentum, people will be displaced and the ability to evolve in the ever changing marketplace is highly required. I can’t remember the last time I bough a recharge card, so are many other Nigerians, it saves the environment by reducing our carbon imprints and demand for papers which is are one of the basic reasons for deforestation. Woods are also the main raw materials used for papers and when we do payment electronically, the demand for papers would be reduced including minting of money. As you can all see, we are all going green and we can be called armature environmentalist with green horns.

Unlike Kenya ,whose cashless economy was spearheaded by telcos and gave the African continent the Mpesa model, as the biggest economy in the continent, Nigeria took a different turn which is bank led. Nigerians opined that telcos aren’t meant to do financial transactions and shouldn’t be dabbling into financial transactions…and they are correct! Considering that the telecoms in the country are foreign owned and majority of the banks in Nigeria are locally owned, so it makes both economic and patriotic with security sense to go the route of bank led electronic transaction…with this model, a lot of Merchant stores have spring up and a lot of e payment firms spring up and this has created employment for thousands of Nigerians with a lot of creative Nigerians coming up with many unique payment formulas. This is the benefits of bank led electronic payment space over the telecommunication firm led.

Though, it’s not yet Uhuru for the electronic payments in Nigeria. There are more to be done in the era of security and that of USSD. A lot of security issues still present itself in the area of USSD transaction, most of the USSD are done using mobile devices and smartphone. There have been reported cases where mobile phones are lost and the criminally minded ones use the mobile phone to transfer money from their owners account to theirs. How they do it ,we are yet to understand but majority of these transfers are done via USSD codes. The apex bank must increase sensitization and security measures in this aspect.

Nigerian cashless transaction has come of age and in tandem with the global best practise, even surpassing most of the advanced economies in the West. As of 2016, according to the apex bank and the financial regulator in the country, the electronic payment hit an all time high of over =N=51 .2 trillion in 2016 and it’s expected to surpass that 2017.The report shows that the value of electronic payment transaction rose from N27.56 trillion to N51.8 trillion in 2016, indicating 88 per cent increase. However, the volume of electronic payment dropped from 41.5 billion in 2012 to 34.9 billion in 2016, indicating 16 per cent decline.

According to Business News report ” A total volume of 327,366,042 transactions valued at N19.78 trillion were recorded in the three months of April through June 2017 as data on Electronic Payment Channels in the Nigeria Banking Sector revealed. 187, 805,431 Transactions in were ATM Payment Option that had the highest Volume of Transaction and the 3rd by Value. “

As the year is coming to an end, the surge to shop would be high, the Black Friday, the Christmas and other Yuletide celebrations is fast approaching, be rest assured that Nigerians aren’t slacking and majority of the shopping would be done online using their cards. An era of market haggling and bargaining of prices is coming to an end and a dawn of new era comes in African biggest economy.

My little girl of 9 would have access to her own card by the age of ten, this would enable her but that her best ice creams and stop taking me to the grocery. Let’s wait for madam to get used to shopping from home ,but for now, I must drive her to shopping and wait in my car with the bills and the attendant coming with her smiles PoS, saying ” Sir, is it savings or current account ? Please , input your PIN”.

 

Anthony Emeka Nwosu

 

 

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