Nigeria Launches National Card Payments Scheme

Elizabeth Christopher

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) Plc, with the Bankers’ Committee are set to launch a national card scheme to improve payment systems in Nigeria.

 

The implementation of the National Domestic Cards payment Scheme, is billed to take effect from January 16, 2023.

 

Mr Premier Oiwoh, Managing Director, NIBSS, made the announcement at a Bankers’ Committee press briefing.

 

He said the scheme, which had been approved, was the brain work of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

 

“Part of the proposition of the bank is that this National Domestic Card scheme will be created to help drive acceptance and efficiency and reduce operating cost of cards in the country.

“This card will be configured to address the unique eco-system that we have, to help improve payment across the nation.

“We also expect the card to provide affordable pricing; on this card the charges will be lower because it’s expected to be charged for in Naira as against foreign currency.

“We also expect to customise local content uniquely for the Nigerian landscape, which will support micro payment and credit, e-government, identity management, transportation, health sector and agriculture in terms of payment,” he said.

He explained that the card was expected to reduce the dependence on cash across the landscape and help promote the cashless initiative of the CBN.

The operational effectiveness of this card is expected to be robust and it should drive a lot of innovation, standardisation, then full end-to-end visibility to improve fraud management and better dispute resolution process around the card operating system.

“Local competence for the card and payment scheme will also be deepened within the eco-system,” said Oiwoh.

 

He said the card would incorporate products ranging from debit card, credit card, and non interest card, among others.

Meanwhile, the CBN in a statement said the domestic card scheme was in line with its mandate to promote stability, inclusion and growth in the financial and payment system.

 

According to the Apex bank, as Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria is in a vantage position to successfully launch a domestic cards payment scheme given the significant transformation in the sector over the past decade.

“This has been driven by rapid digital and technological innovation, increasing mobile penetration and the policy initiatives of the CBN which have spurred unprecedented adoption of digital financial services,” the statement reads.

The CBN recognises the tremendous benefits of the domestic card scheme in reducing costs and use of foreign exchange, protection of data sovereignty, enabling locally relevant propositions; and making cards and payments more accessible and affordable for Nigerians.

“The scheme also provides a platform for seamless dissemination of government-to-person payments and other social impact initiatives, ultimately enhancing financial inclusion and supporting the growth of a robust digital economy.

The Nigerian domestic card scheme shall be delivered through the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) Plc, the CBN said, including Nigeria’s central switch, in conjunction with the Bankers Committee and other financial ecosystem stakeholders.

“It will foster innovation within the Nigerian domestic market and the African continent allowing banks and other institutions to offer a variety of solutions including debit, credit, virtual, loyalty and tokenised cards amongst others.”

Nigeria joins a growing list of countries – India, Turkey, China, and Brazil as leading examples – who have launched successful domestic card schemes and harnessed the transformative benefits to their payments and financial systems, particularly for the underbanked.

 

In this regard, the domestic card scheme will be an important game changer for financial inclusion in Nigeria.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hauwa Abu

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