PoS Transactions in Nigeria Hits N3.20 trillion

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The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS) in its latest released data disclosed that the value of transactions done across Point of Sale (PoS) channel in Nigeria hit N3.20 trillion in 2019.

The total value transactions according to NIBSS increased from N2.32 trillion in 2018 to N3.204 trillion by the end of 2019. This implies that the value of transactions from PoS machines rose by N882.03 billion (37.9%) in one year.

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Analysis of the NIBSS data revealed that in January 2019, N222.9 billion worth transactions were carried out through the channel. However, in February, there was a big drop in the value of PoS transactions to 193.4 billion – the lowest recorded in the year. On the other hand, the highest value of PoS transactions was recorded in December (N372.68 billion). This means between January and December 2019, PoS transactions rose by 67%. Similarly, the volume of PoS transactions jumped in the year. In 2019, the volume of PoS transactions rose to 438.6 million, up from 285.8 million in 2018. This means PoS transactions in terms of volume rose by 53.4% (152.7 million). Also, the highest volume of PoS transactions was recorded in December, with a total of 46.13 million transactions. However, the volume of transactions dropped in February, representing the lowest (25.7 million) in the year.

The use of interbank instant payments on USSD platforms by bank customers received a significant boost in 2019, as transactions through NIBSS Instant Payment (NIP) hit N105.2 trillion, up from 80.4 trillion in 2018. This means transactions through NIP rose by 30.8% (24.79 trillion) in one year.

The highest value of transactions recorded through NIP was December while the lowest was recorded in February. On the other hand, further analysis shows that in 2019, transactions done through mobile transfers (Mobile Inter-scheme Transactions) hit N828 billion.

According to the NIBSS data, mobile transfers done in 2019 represented a 536% rise compared to N292 billion recorded in 2018. The biggest mobile transfer recorded was done in December (N148.9 billion), compared to N26.8 billion in January 2019.

Several issues continue to threaten the use of e-payment platforms in Nigeria. Prominent among the issues are the N50 stamp duty charge on transactions above N1000, N4 on bank transfers using USSD code, among others.

The Federal Government of Nigeria had stopped the additional N50 charge currently being imposed on transactions carried out through Point of Sales (PoS) Terminal. According to a directive recently issued by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), PoS transactions charges imposed by the Central Bank is to be borne by businesses. As such, passing it on consumers is counterproductive, burdensome and inconsistent with the underlying cashless policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Despite the directive by the government, some malls and outlets still continue to charge the N50 stamp duty. Earlier, Nairametrics reported that merchants in some of Nigeria’s largest retail outlets included the N50 stamp duty in their PoS machines automatically. This followed the widespread adoption of the N50 charge on customers seeking to pay their bills using debit cards. Most filling stations in Lagos, including large supermarkets such as SPAR and Grand Square are already charging their customers the stamp duties of N50 per completed set of transactions paid using the PoS.

Also, the issue of N4 charges on the use of USSD code remains unresolved. Despite concerns that this may stifle the financial inclusion policy of the Central Bank, Bank Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) are reportedly ready to meet on the dispute surrounding the charges for use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) in the country.

Juliet Ekwebelam

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