Nigerian authorities intensify push for electronic payments

The management of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved an industry-wide incentive and awareness campaign for stakeholders in electronic payments.

CBN said in a release that the Electronic Payments Incentive Scheme (EPIS) scheme would focus primarily on rewarding users of electronic payments in Nigeria and further encourage greater adoption by all. The incentive scheme intends to reward and encourage card usage across all channels with an emphasis on electronic channels to promote financial inclusion.

CBN has made clear that the awareness campaign is designed as a white label initiative in which all stakeholders are required to participate.

Of the number of incentives to be introduced, the reduction of the merchant service charge (MSC) rate is among the most significant. A deadline of 1 November 2014 is set for the current MSC rate to drop from 1.25 percent to 0.75 percent.

A new points-based rewards system that will reward customers for frequency of payment card usage will be introduced on 1 December 2014.

A deadline of 1 January 2015 is in place for the implementation of new POS functionalities for merchants to offer cash-out services to their customers. Both the rewards system and the cash-out initiative will be powered by the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), the company that provides the infrastructure for automated processing, settlement of payments and fund transfer instructions between banks, discount houses and card companies in Nigeria.