A few weeks after MTN Nigeria announced plans to apply for payment banking licence, telecoms service provider, Airtel has disclosed plans to establish a Payment Service Bank (PSB).

In a statement made available to newsmen, the second largest network operator said the PSB establishment is a move to promote financial inclusion in the country.

With a subscriber base of over 40 million customers and its retail footprint across major nooks and crannies of the country, Airtel said it intended to leverage its distribution to drive financial inclusion among the unbanked and financially excluded.

Airtel made known that it would apply for the PSB licence through a subsidiary as directed in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s guidelines, adding that it had a vision of becoming the largest and most secured PSB in Nigeria.

The company commended the apex bank for issuing guidelines for licensing of PSBs, saying the move would enhance access to financial services to the rural poor, low-income earners and the financially- excluded in the society.

Nairametrics had reported the MTN Group plans to apply for payment banking license in Nigeria and launch a service in the country by the second quarter of 2019.

Growing Mobile Money market in Nigeria

Nigeria has recorded a 50 per cent increase in the volume of mobile money within January to September this year.

Figures released by the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) show that in the nine months under review, volume of mobile money transaction was N1.2 trillion. This is a huge increase, compared with N795.18 billion recorded in the same period last year.

The figures also revealed that the number of mobile money customer also rose from 3.2 million recorded in 2017 to 5.54 million during the same period this year.

The growth, according to the NIBSS, is a reflection of interest Nigerians are gradually showing in mobile money just few years after it was launched by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

However, the success story of mobile money in East Africa, pioneered by Kenya’s Safaricom, has convinced investors and the industry that financial services are the next growth area for telecoms to offset falling prices for basic services.

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