Nigeria Recorded N5.3trn Transactions on Digital Channels in 2020, Onyeagwu Reveals

Emma Okonji
Transactions on digital channels stood at 97 per cent or N5.3 trillion as at 2020, while cheque transactions declined to as low as about 2.5 per cent during same year, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank, Mr. Ebenezar Onyeagwu has revealed.
He listed the digital platforms to include mobile banking, automated teller machines (ATMs), Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), point of sales (PoS), among others.

Onyeagwu made the disclosure yesterday, during a Masterclass programme for telecoms journalists to commemorate 20 years of telecommunications operation in Nigeria, organised by Compact Communications Limited.
He therefore called for affordability, reliability and accessibility of telecoms infrastructure, which is the platform on which digital financial transactions ride on.

Onyeagwu who delivered the keynote address, said the telecoms infrastructure remained a catalyst driving financial inclusion in Nigeria and must be protected across the country, to enable more people access the platform while carrying out digital transactions across digital channels.

According to him, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), introduced financial inclusion in 2012, in order to give all Nigerians, including those in rural areas, access to digital transactions.

He said the CBN, has through the introduction of financial inclusion, and in collaboration with telecons service providers, changed the life style of many Nigerians. He said the available digital platforms have helped Nigerians to open bank accounts from their mobile phones, without going to any bank branch. “Nigerians can carry out financial transactions from the comfort of their homes and offices, using digital platforms. They can transfer money using feature phones through the USSD channels, and they can transfer large sums of money with their smartphones, using mobile apps, a situation that was not possible in the past without visiting the banks,” Onyeagwu said.

He, however, noted some challenges hindering digital financial transactions in Nigeria and called on the federal government to quickly address them in order to further enhance digital financial transactions and financial inclusion in Nigeria.
He listed some of the challenges to include slow broadband penetration, rise in cybercrime, digital illiteracy and personal data attacks.

The Zenith Bank boss called on the telecoms sector operators to make broadband accessible to all, at affordable cost, especially for those in rural communities. He said lack of ubiquitous broadband access, would deny people access to digital channels for digital financial transactions.

On the issue of cybercrime, he advised bank customers not to compromise their Personal Identification Number (PIN) and their Bank Verification Number (BVN) to a third party, since the fraudsters could use them to defraud innocent customers.

He advised the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator, to be careful in recycling dormant SIM Cards, since the fraudsters could have access to vital information already stored in the SIM Card to defraud bank customers
“Although financial inclusion is driving digital transformation, most Nigerians are not technology savvy enough to understand how best to use their smartphones and this in most cases, expose then to financial vulnerabilities,” Onyeagwu further said.

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