Last year, Nigeria became the first African country to introduce a central bank digital currency (CBDC) by launching the eNaira. One year after, the adoption of digital currency is still very slow, even though the Central Bank of Nigeria believes it has recorded significant success with the currency.
According to the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, eNaira has recorded 700,000 transactions valued at N8 billion since its inauguration on Oct. 25, 2021. This presupposes that more Nigerians are gradually embracing the digital version of the nation’s currency.
Interestingly, with the planned redesign of N200, N500, and N1000, effective from mid-December this year, the CBN could push for more adoption of the digital version of the naira as it has hinted that fewer notes will be printed and circulated in the economy.
Nigerians are being encouraged to do more with digital currency as opposed to physical notes.
However, the CBN Governor had recently admitted that the use of the eNaira for transactions has not kicked off as planned, even one year after. And this is due to the “apathy” of bankers who discourage bank customers from transferring funds from their bank accounts to the eNaira wallet. Some users of the eNaira app have also confirmed that they have difficulties sending money to their bank accounts from their eNaira wallets.
The eNaira app
To use the digital currency, Nigerians first have to download it from either the iOS Store or Google Play Store. While the iOS Store does not show the number of downloads, as of the time of filing this report, the eNaira app has recorded over 500,000 downloads on the Google Play Store.
The CBN recently updated the app into what it called eNaira Speed Wallet App (Combo), making it a single app for consumers and merchants. According to the bank, the app was redesigned to meet users’ expectations concerning usability (UI/UX), security, variety of other features that make their experience on the app worthwhile and proudly Nigerian content.
Key features of the app
- Two Apps in One: The new version of the app is now a combo wallet app. In other words, the consumer and merchant wallets are now accessible on the same app. For those who have both wallet types, now you can download the single eNaira speed wallet app on your phone.
- 10 Digit Wallet ID: The CBN has introduced a 10-digit Wallet ID just like NUBAN for all wallets which can be used to log in to eNaira Wallet and make and receive payments.
- Multi-Theme: Light, Dusk, and Dark themes are available, making it possible for users to change their themes to what they prefer.
- Multilingual services: The new eNaira Speed Wallet App now supports three major Nigerian languages and one foreign language – Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo & French.
- Personalization: Profile Pictures have also been introduced. Users can now upload their pictures on their profile notifications, subscribe to SMS notifications, and so on.
- Security Features: The eNaira Speed Wallet comes with improved security features to ensure the safety and privacy of our users. Users are now required to create 4-digit PIN (Personal Identification Number) codes to approve transactions with a unique password/biometric (fingerprint) authentication for login and a PIN to authorize transactions.
While the level of adoption of the CBDC has been slow, the eNaira app has seen many users in the last year. However, the experience has not been smooth for many, as the app suffers glitches and bugs that keep users complaining about one problem or the other. Here’s what the users are saying through their reviews of the app on Google Play Store:
Duke Terry said his experience with the eNaira app has not been palatable as he faced difficulty in withdrawing his money.
- “Since the time I put some money in my wallet I’ve been trying to get it out time and time again but I can’t do so. I’ve been sending emails but they are yielding absolutely no results. I have called customer care several times without getting a response. Please I want to get my money out this is nothing but a scam as far as I’m concerned. There are other merchant apps out there but I’ve never had this level of difficulty for months like with you people. I will never use this app for anything,” he said.
Adekoya Mateawo said the problem he had with the app is that he couldn’t find his area listed on the app at the point of registering. He said:
- “I was registering on the app only to discover that there was not a single city in Obafemi Owode Local Government where I was to choose a city. Whoever designed this app does not know Nigeria at all and he did not try to find out about the country, or he is just out to ridicule the country. How can you design an app where you make city compulsory and not include a single city in Obafemi Owode Local Government? I just wondered if anybody look at the app before it was launched.”
Withdrawing from the eNaira app is also a challenge for Godwin John Onwu. He said:
- “This app is good at depositing your money. But when you try to withdraw the money, it becomes a problem. I deposited a small amount of money to this app since June through my UBA mobile app but withdrawing this money became a herculean task. The money is withdrawn successfully but crediting my account becomes a big problem to solve. Up until now, the money is still hanging.”
Editing by Emmanuel Abara Benson
CBN needs to create more awareness for this eNaira to be have wider acceptability especially with low income earners.
This eNaira is a project that is simply not needed. The idea is the same as the money in your bank app, except you can’t withdraw, make payments, and only transfer to other eNaira wallets. its basically the same thing with your bank app except with so many disadvantages.