- Despite a reported increase in transactions on the eNaira platform, only a few Nigerians are using the app.
- Findings show that many Nigerians are still unaware of eNaira, while those who know about it see no reason to use it.
- Some users have also reported issues with logging into the app, but the eNaira Help Desk is available for assistance.
Nigeria’s Central Bank Digital Currency, eNaira, was launched in October 2021 as one of the country’s initiatives at driving financial inclusion. The digital version of the naira is expected to boost the cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
While there has been a glaring apathy by Nigerians towards embracing the eNaira, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, recently revealed that eNaira transactions have surged by 63% to NGN22 billion. The digital currency was said to have also recorded a 12-fold increase in wallet creation from the figure recorded in October 2022 to 13 million wallets in March this year.
The question is, who is using the eNaira?
Nairametrics attempted to get an answer by speaking to a cross-section of Nigerians randomly. But the responses rather revealed why many are not using the eNaira, while a few claimed they have used the app to experiment with its functionalities.
Samuel Aladegboye is a phone repairer in Lagos and he is one of the few people that have used the eNaira app. According to him, he downloaded the app just because he was curious to know how it functions.
- “I downloaded the app in January this year and created a wallet because I wanted to see if it’s something that can be better than my bank app since it is coming from the CBN. Creating the wallet was simple and I was able to fund the wallet through a transfer from my bank account. After some days, I transferred the money back to my bank account, and it was seamless. I wasn’t charged for the transfer. But one thing I noticed on the app is that there’s nothing special aside from sending and receiving money. So, I have not really done anything else on the app, but I still have it on my phone,” he said.
John Ameh, a plumber, created an eNaira wallet in February this year when his bank app was failing. The wallet, according to him, was helpful after funding it through his bank as transfers were fast and free of charge. He was also able to receive money through the eNaira wallet.
- “I think the wallet is good, especially, at this time when bank apps are still failing. But it could be better if people can do more on the app than sending and receiving money. Payment of bills, for instance, will be a good feature on the eNaira app and will encourage more people to use it,” Ameh said.
Not for Gen Z…yet
However, Nairmetrics found out that eNaira is not yet a thing among Nigerian students, especially those that could be categorized as Gen Z. For them, there is no motivation to use eNaira when there are lots of other fintech apps with greater functionalities including savings and investments.
When asked if he had used the eNaira, Solademi Adeyemo, a 200-level student at Lagos State University, said he has not tried it and may not because he has other apps for financial transactions.
- “I don’t use the app and I don’t think I will use it because I already have a bank app and a fintech app. Since there is nothing special in the eNaira wallet apart from sending and receiving money, I do not see any need for it,” he said.
Titilayo Adeyemo, another student in Lagos, said she had not heard about the eNaira app even though she uses a fintech app.
“Is it a bank app,” she queried when asked if she had used eNaira.
Creating eNaira wallet
Creating the eNaira is simple and people without a bank account can also have an eNaira wallet. The eNaira Speed Wallet app is available for download on the Google Play Store and the iOS Store. The CBN also recently introduced a USSD code, *997#, which allows people without smartphones to also create an eNaira wallet.
The app allows you to create either an individual or business wallet. While the consumer (Individual) wallet requires an individual to register with a phone number, email address, BVN, and date of birth, the business wallet requires a phone number, email address, TIN, RC number, owner’s BVN, company account number, and date of birth of the business owner.
For the individual wallet, 3 categories of wallets can be created: Bronze Wallet, Silver Wallet, and Gold Wallet. While the Bronze and Silver wallet is for people without bank account numbers, the former requires only a mobile number, while the latter requires the National Identification Number (NIN) and mobile number to create, but both have their limitations in terms of maximum transactions allowed. The Gold wallet, which is a tier 3 wallet requires the BVN and bank details of the user to create.
Issues with the eNaira wallet
While the process of creating the eNaira wallet, users sometimes find it difficult to log in to the app. This was experienced by Nairametrics while using the app. We could not log in to the wallet after successfully onboarding. An error message, ‘invalid username or password’ kept popping up. An attempt to reset the password using the ‘forgot password’ link was unsuccessful.
Thinking that the wallet creation might not have been successful, we tried to create another wallet with the same phone number, and the response was that the number ‘already has an eNaira wallet.’
Nairametrics contacted the eNaira Help Desk via 080069362472 to complain about the issue, but the customer care agent directed us to send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, to register the complaint. However, several hours after the complaint was lodged, there has not been any response even until the time of filing this report.
Pushing adoption through market awareness
As part of efforts to encourage more Nigerians to use digital currency, the CBN has embarked on a series of awareness campaigns at different markets across the country. According to CBN’s Assistant Director, of Payment System Management, Chika Ugwueze, the purpose of the market campaigns is to encourage traders to embrace eNaira as an alternative to cash.
- “The important message to all Nigerians is that the eNaira is not an alternative to your bank account, but an alternative to cash in your wallet because it offers payment efficiency and improves security.
- “Generally, the eNaira has helped to deepen the payment options in the market. The CBN has developed different platforms for using the e-Naira. If you have a telephone in Nigeria, you can have access to the eNaira,” he said.
Meanwhile, industry stakeholders are of the view that the CBN would need to do more than create awareness to provide incentives that would make Nigerians see the need for eNaira. According to them, many Nigerians have already gone cashless and using different apps and other digital channels for the transaction.
I downloaded the app had issues signing up. Then once registered had issues sending payments. The sending payments issue got resolved with an app update the app itself is not very intuitive there’s no way to top-up my phone or pay electricity bills the payment received receipt that you get is very complex the whole thing is a disaster in my opinion which is a shame
If the Nigerian Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) were to utilize eNaira to distribute cash-based conditional transfers directly, and provide cash palliatives that are redeemable only at specific merchants for expenses like transportation, healthcare, and food, as well as digitally distribute the funds for constituency projects assigned by politicians directly to their constituents, it would significantly enhance the usage and significance of eNaira, thus validating its presence in the Nigerian financial services market.
The potential benefits of using technology, such as eNaira, to improve and streamline various aspects of Nigerian society are significant.
However, as evidenced by the recent tech-enabled voter accreditation and collation efforts by INEC, the impact of such initiatives is only as effective as those who are driving them. It is essential that those in charge demonstrate the necessary will and commitment to push forward these technological advancements and ensure their success.
All CBDC are fearful
This will surely lead to the demise of deposit money banks as we know them if fully embraced by the masses
@Mathew, It’s an exaggeration to say that deposit money banks will completely disappear. With CBDCs, there’s potential for them to operate as digital-first public banks and coexist with other banks, mainly offering free banking services to those who are unbanked or financially disadvantaged. For example, how many different active bank accounts does the average middle class Nigerian have by the age of 40?
Additionally, banking is a lot more than just deposit taking. Deposit money banks provide various financial services to their customers such as lending, wealth management, investment products, insurance, and financial education that CBDCs may not be able to handle effectively.
I was excited at the launch of enaira, my frustration started a month ago after transferring ₦160,000 to enaira somehow I was unable to transfer the money. I have made not less than 22 calls and 19 emails and follow-up mails.
It seems that I will have to live with the reality that my money is gone.
No where to complain to as their customer care mimics a robot while no response from several mails sent.
I will not advice any body to use if for now
The government should make a policy that all their payments to contractors will be done only over the enaira platform. This will drive its usage among the citizens
Some people who are so willing to use e Naira are discouraged with continue failure to accept your registration
No good Customer service I have a pending transaction but no response useless app do joining it unless they provide good customer service if yes help me I refer many customers to eNaira unfortunately now I’m in trouble.