By Babajide Komolafe
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced guidelines for the regulation of bills payments aimed at protecting stakeholders in the system.
Among other things, the regulation mandates billers and payment service providers to provide customer support services by creating help desks to aid resolution of services issues.
CBN said that the scope of the regulation, titled, “Regulation for Bill Payments in Nigeria,” covers bill payments on various payment channels and any payment platform that seeks to integrate the payment side of commercial activity and merchant aggregators in Nigeria. It added that the payment methods include Cheques, Cards, Direct Debit, Instant Payments, and Automated Clearing House, etc.
Explaining the purpose of the regulation, the apex bank stated: “The objectives of this regulation are to document the minimum standards that must be complied with for the processing of bill payment transactions; to identify stakeholders in Bill Payment system space; to ensure achievement of the vision of a ‘nationally utilized and international recognized’ payments system in Nigeria; to ensure adequate protection for the stakeholders in the Bill Payment system space.”
The regulation identified five stakeholders in the bills payment system, namely: the payer, the biller, the payer’s bank, the biller’s bank, and the Payment Service Provider (PSP).
According to the regulation, the PSP is a person licensed by CBN to provide services involving direct interactions with the payment, settlement and clearing systems and payment system arrangements, as the bank may authorize from time to time and may include a bank, mobile money operators or other financial institution that is connected directly to a biller without any service intermediary.