The volume of financial transactions through mobile apps, a type of payment channel, rose by 76.1 percent in the first six months (January-June) of 2022, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
In its latest financial stability report, the apex bank said, the volume rose to 803.2 million in the first half of last year from 456.1 million in the second half (July-December) of 2021. Its value also increased by 78 percent to N51.4 billion.
“The increased usage of electronic payments for banking transactions was due to the convenience provided by the channels and increased public confidence in the banking system,” it said.
It also said that the volume and value of cheques cleared, decreased to 2.1 million and N1.6 billion in end-June 2022, from 2.2 million and N1.6 billion in end-December 2021, respectively.
“These outcomes indicated decreases of 5.62 and 1.86 per cent in volume and value, respectively, reflecting customers’ preference for electronic transactions.”
A recent Global Findex report by the World Bank showed that higher adoption of mobile money is driving the growth of account ownership in financial institutions particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) countries like Nigeria.
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“Mobile money has become an important enabler of financial inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa especially for women as a driver of account ownership and of account usage through mobile payments, saving, and borrowing,” it said.
The report also said that the country’s banked population increased by 15.6 percentage points to 45.3 percent in 2021, the highest in 10 years from 29.7 percent in 2011.
The CBN report further revealed that 2.7 million Bank Verification Numbers (BVNs) were enrolled, bringing total BVN enrolment to 54.7 million, reflecting an increase of 5.24 percent over 51.9 million enrolments at end-December 2021.
“The number of accounts linked with BVNs was 130.6 million out of 148.5 million active customer accounts, while the number of watch-listed BVNs associated with fraud and deceased persons stood at 6,047 and 11,871, respectively,” it said.
In 2012, CBN introduced the cashless policy which was meant to curb excessive handling of cash and to curtail the volume of cash in circulation.
More importantly, the policy was introduced to drive development and modernisation of payment systems capable of placing Nigeria among the top 20 economies in the world.
The transition from the old naira notes to the new ones, which have started entering circulation, are also expected to spur the use of electronic banking channels ahead of the expiration of the old notes by January 31, 2023.