The mobile money business of MTN Nigeria, MTN MoMo is currently leading the financial inclusion drive in Nigeria, ahead of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s eNaira initiative with 4.2 million wallets created in less than two months of its operation.
This is far higher than the combined consumer and merchants’ eNaira wallets created in 10 months of the digital currency platform, which stood at about 270,000 as of August 2022.
According to the Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, since its inauguration in October 2021, eNaira had reached 840,000 downloads, with about 270,000 active wallets comprising more than 252,000 consumer wallets and 17,000 merchant wallets. In addition, volume of transactions on the platform was said to have reached above 200,000.
MTN MoMo, which received final approval for its PSB licence in April this year, launched its service on May 19. MTN Nigeria in its half-year 2022 financial report disclosed that in the six weeks of its operation, the MTN MoMo had recorded 4.2 million wallets while transaction volume in the period stood at 7 million.
When it was announced on May 26, 2021, the CBN Governor said the eNaira would improve access to financial services for many of the country’s unbanked population—about 55% of adult Nigerians. In the same vein, the PSBs operated by telecom operators were licensed to help deepen financial inclusion in the country by taking financial services to the unbanked and underbanked.
Why PSBs will continue to lead
- While Nigeria had struggled with its target of 80% financial inclusion for years, the licensing of the telecommunications operators as Payment Service Banks (PSBs) through their subsidiaries is expected to fast-track the journey by leveraging their huge mobile subscriptions across the country.
- MTN as the largest telecommunications operator in Nigeria had 79 million active subscriptions as of June 2022.
- Airtel Nigeria, whose subsidiary, SmartCash PSB also got final license approval in April this year officially launched its service in July. As of June, the telco had 58 million active subscriptions, which are potential customers for its PSB services.
- 9PSB, a subsidiary of 9mobile launched its service in 2020 as the first subsidiary of telecom company to dabble into mobile money service. While the company is yet to release its wallet figure as of now, 9PSB is also leveraging 12.6 million active subscriptions on the 9mobile network to push its mobile money services.
- While Globacom has also received the same license through its subsidiary, Moneymaster PSB, the company is yet to launch its service. However, when it launches, Moneymaster will also be banking on the over 52 million active subscriptions on the Glo network.
Meanwhile, the CBN continues to push the eNaira to achieve its purpose of driving financial inclusion in the country. According to the CBN Governor, both banked and unbanked Nigerians would soon be able to open an eNaira wallet and conduct transactions by simply dialling *997 from their phones. This will be following the same pattern of wallet creation on the PSBs platform, which is easier and faster.
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