People & Money

A seismic fundamental shift is underway in Nigeria’s digital banking sector

By Hany Fekry

In Nigeria, cash has remained king and financial services have remained stagnant despite decades of efforts to do away with old-fashioned paper money

Many in the payments industry have been predicting so for years. That digital payments are inevitable for the future.

It’s only a matter of time, the experts said over and over again.

But while the technology has continued to take over commerce worldwide, digital payments in Africa have not neared anywhere close to global adoption rates.

The challenges with developing the digital payment sector in the sub-Saharan continent are well catalogued. Challenging infrastructure, low income levels and the well-established virtues of cash – immediacy, ubiquity and trust – have all constrained the development of electronic payments in African countries.

In Nigeria, cash has remained king and financial services have remained stagnant despite decades of efforts to do away with old-fashioned paper money.

That was, until COVID-19 hit. In the aftermath of the virus outbreak, we have seen digital banking emerge across Nigeria with heightening consumer demand for efficient ways to access banking records and complete financial transactions outside physical branches and traditional card payments.

The fear of paper currency as a carrier for coronavirus has jolted the banking sector into massive digital disruption, signalling a powerful inflection point for payments in Africa. And we see this as just the start of the shift in how consumers, merchants and issuers choose to transact.

We remain committed to fostering agile innovation by deploying our best-in-class technology to support digital and financial inclusion of Nigerian consumers and businesses

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