CBN raises momentum in cash-less Nigeria project

CBN raises momentum in cash-less Nigeria projectGives approval-in-principle to three payment service banks

The race for the national roll-out of cash-less policy in the country has gained additional momentum, as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), yesterday, gave an Approvals-in-Principle (AIP) to three Payment Service Banks (PSBs).

This immediately followed the circular to all banks in the country on the full implementation of the cash-less policy effective March 31, 2020 and a review of the process for merchant settlement, which it said would further promote the cash-less economy and collection of applicable government revenues.

The CBN, had in April 2017, suspended the nation-wide implementation of the cash-less policy, after pilot phases across the country.Now, the apex bank said the AIP was in line with its objective of enhancing financial inclusion and the development of the payment system, by increasing access to deposit products and payments services through a secured technology-driven environment.

The three institutions issued approvals in principle to operate as Payment Service Banks are Hope PSB, Money Master PSB and 9PSB. The Director of Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Isaac Okorafor, explained that AIP was part of the processes the institutions had to fulfil to be granted license to operate as full-fledged PSBs.He said the AIP followed the institutions’ satisfactory documentations and other laid down conditions, but must be complemented with the submission of their respective applications for the grant of a final licence, not later than six months.

Speaking further, he disclosed that the CBN’s code of corporate governance for banks would also be applicable to the PSBs.Meanwhile, the Director of Payments System Management Department, CBN, Sam Okojere, said the full rollout of the cash-less policy would come with the applicable charges on deposits, in addition to already existing charges on withdrawals.

But with immediate effect, the cash-less policy and its applicable charges have taken off Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, Rivers states and the Federal Capital Territory.The charges include three per cent processing fees for withdrawals and two per cent processing fees for lodgements of amounts above N500,000 for individual accounts.

On the other hand, corporate accounts would attract five per cent processing fees for withdrawals and three per cent for lodgements of amounts above N3million.In the same development, Okojere noted that the Merchant Service Charge (MSC) has been reviewed from 0.75% capped at N1,200 to 0.5% capped at N1,000.The review, which took effect from September 17, 2019, also came with approval for banks to unbundle the merchant settlement amounts and charge applicable taxes and duties on individual transactions as stipulated by regulations.

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