A recent report obtained from the Nigerian interbank settlement system (NIBSS) has revealed that there was an acceleration in the adoption of instant payments ports in the year 2020 as the Nigerian population transitioned to other transaction channels electronically for funds and exchange in the wake of the imposed lockdowns by the government. As a result, the volume of mobile transactions in Nigeria surged 82.6 per cent year on year to 1.7 billion in 2020 from 928.9 million in 2019. Thus, the e-payment landscape has witnessed a significantly eternal change on the back of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, a significant spike was observed for Internet Banking transactions, as they grew to 10 per cent of the total transactions. This can be attributed to the move away from physical channels, and the branch closures experienced in key commercial hubs in the wake of the pandemic.
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According to the bulletin from NIBSS, transactions through the mobile channel remains the preferred channel for Nigerians with 43 per cent of total transactions value, while Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) remains a close second with 35 per cent of transactions. These remain largely unchanged from 2019 and therefore indicate that 78 per cent of total transfer transactions were carried out using a mobile device. Meanwhile, mobile payments and USSD channel have continued to experience steady growth, growing by 84 per cent and 80 per cent respectively year on year. With approximately 49.5 per cent smartphone ownership and an estimated 97 million mobile internet users in Nigeria, there remain the strong indicators that mobile and USSD payments will see significant growth in the short-medium term.