Technology continues to evolve, challenging and transforming the way that things are done across different sectors. Advancements in ICT have made it possible for people to receive, spend and save money on mobile devices like phones and tablets.
In Nigeria, the mobile money (or mobile wallet) concept has gained immense traction with many banks providing backbone support to small agents and operators bringing some aspects of traditional banking to the doorsteps of both banked and unbanked Nigerians.
Almost on every street in most towns and cities across Nigeria, one can find these “POS Agents” in small kiosks, shops and sometimes, under umbrella shelters, armed with POS machines and smartphones, making cash withdrawal, transfers, bill payments and other kinds of financial services available to people.
The COVID-19 pandemic further popularised the activities of these mobile money agents as big financial service providers adopted the concept, creating several partners and agents across the country who run outlets where people can walk in and carry out most of their financial transactions at a small fee.
Mobile Money Operators in Nigeria
Launched by a fintech company – Opera, Opay has focused on ensuring the inclusion of various financial services such as bill payments, buying of goods and services, sending and receiving funds for both users and consumers.
With over 300,000 agents and 5 million users scattered across the country, Opay has become one of the most popular fintech apps and a household name in Nigeria. Many businesses in the country accept payments via Opay. The fintech company also issues free POS equipment to agents and this has made it easy for various POS centres to spring up across the country.
MoMo is owned by Nigeria’s largest telecom operator, MTN. It is a mobile money application licensed by CBN to provide financial services on behalf of banks. The mobile app permits users to send and receive funds across the country.
With over 150,000 agents in every local government area in the country, MoMo has created various outlets that allow users to carry out different types of transactions without necessarily visiting banking halls while these agents charge minimal percentages for every transaction.
In the words of Usoro Usoro, the Chief Executive Officer of YDFS- MTN subsidiary that launched “MoMo Agents,” the goal of MoMo is to reach every underbanked and banked Nigerian.
This is an official money service of one of the major banks in Nigeria – First Bank. They provide accessible platforms where transactions are made daily. From sending and receiving money and bill payments to POS services.
With over 85,000 agents, FirstMonie provides financial services in neighbourhoods with little or no availability of banks. They are aimed at bridging the gap between high-tech services and low literacy clients. These agents are mostly shop owners or those involved in various commercial activities and they provide services to thousands of customers daily.
A free mobile application that enables users to conduct free financial transactions such as making payments, sending, and receiving money.
With 27,000 agents across the country, Paga has many retail outlets where consumers can troop in to pay their bills while carrying out various other types of transactions.
A mobile money platform owned by TeamApt that allows users and agents to carry out different transactions such as money withdrawal, cash transfer, airtime top-up, etc., reliably and profitably.
Moniepoint agents enjoy fair commissions and a stable network. There are over 50,000 agents in various states across Nigeria.
Why this matters
The emergence of mobile money operators in Nigeria has simplified the everyday financial life of an average citizen who can simply walk into any of these centres to perform a wide array of transactions previously restricted to banking halls.