NIBSS, Others Seek to Boost Financial Inclusion with mCASH

As part of efforts to further drive financial inclusion in the country, the Nigeria InterBank Settlement System (NIBSS) in collaboration with banks and the telecommunications companies, yesterday relaunched the mCASH solution.

mCASH is an innovative solution that was designed to 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.

This solution also extends e-payment benefits to payers and merchants at the bottom of the pyramid where usage of cash has been predominant.

Speaking at an event in Lagos, the chief executive officer of NIBSS, Mr. Adebisi Shonubi, explained that the product was launched again, after some issues that constrained its acceptance by members of the public were resolved.

“When we started Mcash for example, we did not anticipate the full effect of the sim swap problems that existed. So, when it came to be, we had to slow down because sim swap was a major issue from a loss and a risk perspective.

“The telcos sat with us and came up with some frameworks that allow us identify sims that have been swap and therefore prevents them. Since we did that, the fraud rate has dropped.

“So, for us it is being a learning experience and that is why we have built in an almost perfect product, which is why we are relaunching it,” Shonubi explained.

He said the solution was developed to support the country’s drive towards a cash-less society.

“We talk about cashless, we talk about financial inclusion. Really, all those conversations are about how to get people to put cash in their pocket and find other ways of doing financial transactions.

“It involves two kinds of people – the buyer and the seller, and both have to be comfortable for it to work.

“The idea behind the mCASH was to make it easier and replace the use of physical cash. And for that to happen, we needed to sit down with a number of parties because every individual element in the chain has a part to play.

“Many times, you hear people talk about unique solutions in the world, but over the last two years we have been creating our own unique blend of what is possible in the world.

“For mCASH, we would not charge any fee for the USSD. The banks said they would give access to their customers and because it is targeted at the lower value of transactions, we had to do away with some fees that we normally charge people. The telcos have committed to provide USSD channels and to give it priority.

In his keynote address, the chief executive officer of Diamond Bank Plc, Mr. Uzoma Dozie, who was represented by the bank’s Deputy Managing Director, Mrs Caroline Anyanwu, pointed out that prior to the mCASH, users of payment solutions were facing a number of challenges.

“There is technology phobia, where people say they can’t use technology. We must leverage the best innovation and technology to drive financial inclusion locally and I believe NIBSS is prepared for that.

“mCASH is cheap and secured and would significantly increase the volume of mobile payments in Nigeria. But banks must deploy aggressive awareness to ensure that is widely accepted,” she added.

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