By Jonah Nwokpoku
The Nigeria Interbank Settlement Scheme, NIBSS in collaboration with all the money deposit banks in Nigeria and the four major telecommunications operators, Etisalat, MTN, Airtel and Globacom, has launched a new mobile money payment solution.
Known as mCash, the new mobile money solution will facilitate low value retail payments; grow e-payments by providing accessible electronic channels to a wider range of users and to further enhance financial inclusion in Nigeria, by extending e-payment benefits to payers and merchants at the bottom of the pyramid where usage of cash has been predominant.
The mCash utilises Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, USSD code in payment processing. Merchants can deploy mCash as a payment channel by registering with their banks, who will issue them an 8-digit seller code which buyers or payers need to use while making payments to them.
A customer who wants to make payments through mCash, has to dial the universal code, *402*SellerCode*Amount#. Upon dialling the code, the name of the seller will appear and a list of banks a customer wishes to make payments from. The user can then select a bank and input passcode to authenticate and complete the transaction. Upon completion of the transaction, both the buyer and the seller will receive flash confirmation of debit and credit messages instantly.
However, only mobile numbers linked to a user’s BVN are allowed for mCash transactions.
Although all the banks have signed up to integrate into the solution, at the moment, only six banks have been brought on-board and are active. These include: Diamond bank, Fidelity bank, Unity bank, Zenith bank, Sterling bank and Wema bank. First City Monument Bank, FCMB and Union Bank are expected to go live before the end of next week.
Users are charged N20 per transaction through mCash for all transactions below N10, 000 while all transactions above N10, 000 cost N50 to both the merchant and the customer. Should transactions fail a resolution is guaranteed within six hours.
At the launch in Lagos, the MD/CEO of NIBSS, Mr. Ade Shonubi said: “The whole intention of mCash is to broaden the opportunity for people who rely mostly on usage of cash to find convenient means of making payments electronically.
The CBN has been pushing the cashless initiative for a long time and we have seen significant gains but a lot of people who have benefited so far have been the banking customers. And we need to deepen and reach out to a lot more people, as we begin to make real the dream for financial inclusion and as we begin to realise that a lot of government’s social programme will touch a different set of people.