Mobile transactions in Nigeria (mobile & USSD) surged by 82.6% in 2020 to stand at 1.69 billion compared to 928.86 million recorded in the previous year. This is according to the 2020 instant payment annual statistics, recently released by the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS).
The report also revealed that 78% of total instant payments carried out in Nigeria in 2020 were done through the use of mobile devices.
The breakdown of the data showed that while mobile payment retained its position as the most preferred channel, accounting for 43% of the total transactions in 2020, USSD followed closely at 762.19 million transactions, accounting for 35% of the total recorded in the year.
The agency attributed the growth to the move by Nigerians away from physical channels, and the closure of most bank branches in the country during the heat of the covid-19 pandemic.
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In terms of Year-on-Year performance, the volume of mobile transactions in the country grew from 506.16 million in 2019 to 933.66 million in 2020, indicating a surge of about 84.5% YoY. Also, the volume of USSD transactions grew from 422.7 million to 762.19 million, advancing by about 80.3% YoY.
- The report stated that with approximately 49.5% smartphone ownership in the country and 97 million mobile internet users, there are strong indications that mobile and USSD payments will see significant growth in the short-medium term.
- Customers between the ages of 25 – 34 years carried out 36% of all interbank instant payments in 2020. This indicates that the younger demographics boosted the adoption of instant payment in the review period.
- Also, 79% of instant payment transactions in the review year were initiated by customers between the age of 15 – 44 years.
- A cursory look at the report also shows that Lagos state maintained the hub for electronic payments, accounting for 30% of the total transactions initiated in the country. Others on the list of highest transaction volumes include; Abuja (7%), Ogun (6%), Rivers (6%), and Oyo state (5%).
- According to the report, 1.37 billion transactions initiated in the year were carried by males, representing 72% of the total, while 520.04 million or 28% were females.
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Nairametrics had reported that twelve Nigerian banks listed on the NSE, raked a sum of N216.52 billion from their e-business earnings in 2020. A list that is clearly topped by the tier-1 banks in the country. This shows how banks are leveraging the growing internet adoption in the country.
A look at bank financials
- Union Bank in its FY 2020 Investors’ presentation stated that the pandemic played a vital role in its 38% YoY growth in Union Mobile active users. It stated that 94% of its transactions are now done online.
- In the same vein, Access Bank remarked that its USSD users at the end of FY 2020 increased to 7.8 million, while the mobile app and internet banking users were 9.8 million at the end of 2020.
- GT Bank on the other hand noted that its USSD users grew by 13.1% YoY, from 6.1 million as of December 2019 to 6.9 million in 2020. Of this figure, 5.7 million users were categorized into the active segment.
As witnessed from the increase in the volume of transactions, the covid-19 pandemic has changed the electronic payment landscape in Nigeria and the world as people try to cut the excesses of physically visiting banks to carry out their financial transactions. This was due to the lockdown implemented by the federal government in response to the covid-19 spread.