The report on data for Electronic Payment (E-payment) Channels in the Nigeria Banking Sector has been released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The Bureau’s report shows that a total of 616,528,697 transactions valued at ₦39.15 trillion were recorded in Q4 2018.
Year on year, e-payment channels recorded a growth of 32% in 2018. In 2017, e-payment channels recorded ₦104.67 trillion, while it increased to ₦138.67 trillion in 2018.

The report also shows that NIBSS Instant Payment (NIP) transactions dominated the volume of the transaction recorded with 228,209,423, valued at ₦23.57 trillion in Q4 2018.

Conversely, the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) transactions dominated with 220,270,371 volume of ATM transactions recorded, valued at ₦1.59 trillion in Q3 2018.

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Key Highlights

  • NIBSS Instant transactions recorded the highest value of ₦23.57 trillion recorded in Q4 2018 quarter on quarter.
  • M-Cash recorded the lowest value of ₦180.65 billion transactions. However, M-Cash witnessed a growth of 24.1% in December month on month.
  • Mobile Payment transactions recorded ₦592.9 billion Q4 of 2018. There was a decline in Mobile payment transactions by 35% month on month in December.
  • Web payment transactions witnessed the highest decline of 83.8% month on month in December. In Q4, it recorded  ₦221.5 billion quarter on quarter.
  • The Point of Sale (POS) transactions witnessed an 18.22% increase month on month. The Q4 transactions amounted to ₦714.35 billion.
  • ATM also experienced growth of 16.88% month on month in December. In Q4, the estimated transactions through the ATM channel stood at ₦1.72 trillion.
  • On the other hand, there is a slight increase in transaction done through cheque. Month on Month, there was a 0.82% increase in the transactions through cheque. In total, transactions completed through cheque amounted to ₦1.26 trillion quarter on quarter.
  • NIP recorded a 6.92% increase in December month on month. Also, transactions recorded in Q4 amounted to ₦23.57 billion.
  • In Q4, E-bills payment recorded a 10.7% increase in December month on month. In Q4, a total of ₦128.85billion transactions was made through the e-bills payment system.
  • On the other hand, NAPS recorded in 15.29 decline in December month on month. However, the Q4 transactions amounted to ₦5.986 trillion.
  • There was an 18% increase in central pay channel month on month, while the Q4 figure was estimated at ₦2.56 billion.
  • Lastly, Remita witnessed a 46.02% increases month on month in December, recording ₦2.56 trillion in Q4 of 2018.

Why e-transaction increase is a booster for the economy?

The cashless economy is essentially a system whereby financial transactions are not conducted with physical cash in the form of physical banknotes. Rather, transactions are done through an electronic representation of money between the transacting parties.

The obvious importance of cashless policy in an economy like Nigeria includes the provision of job opportunities, attracting investors into the financial sectors, reducing risks of carrying cash and so on. Hence, the digital payment channel is important for pushing the economy towards the path of a cashless economy.

Also, this is important for the CBN financial inclusion objective, which is targetted at making sure about 70% of Nigerians are doing transactions electronically. To realise financial inclusion goals, the CBN targets deposit money bank branches to increase from 6.8 units per 100,000 adults in 2010 to 7.6 units per 100,000 adults in 2020.

Also, the ATMs are targeted to increase from 11.8 units to 203.6 units, POSs from 13.3 units to 850 units, Mobile agents from 0 to 62 units, all per 100,000 adults between 2010 and 2020.

In this light, the increase in e-payment transactions signals a move in the right direction to achieving financial inclusion.

Any downsides to e-payment channels? 

In recent years, electronic transaction channels are penetrating rapidly in Nigeria. This is also substantiated by a business development executive  at ITEX Integrated Services, Macdonald Okoh stated that,

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“In the past three years, we’ve seen major growths and this growth has been seen in both the number of terminals deployed and the number of active terminals has grown. We have also seen the number of value and counts of transaction grow. It grows actually by over 80% yearly.”

He further stated that,

“In the next two years, with the advent of agency banking and aggressive deployment of financial inclusion, we will see this grow to over 300%. We see POS deployed in remote areas. I think POS has done a better job than any other channel.

Despite the increase in usage of electronic transactions,  electronic transaction platforms in Nigeria are still faced with some challenges besetting them.

For instance, the issue of debit cards’ rejection by some ATM terminals or POS poses setback and vent frustrations on public’ acceptance of e-payments channels. Similarly, there have been repeated cases of systems errors, where customers are being debited despite failed transactions.

Also, the increasing rate of internet fraud cases in Nigeria further casts aspersion on public acceptance of technological advancements in the banking sector. These challenges have its effects on the pace development of e-transaction channels in Nigeria.

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