CBN floats national card scheme next month, targets 42 million unbanked

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has concluded plans to float a national card scheme to enhance the payment system in Nigeria.
The CBN is partnering with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) Plc and the Bankers Committee on the scheme.
CBN’s spokesman, Osita Nwanisobi, said the move was meant to promote inclusion and growth in the financial services sector via Nigeria’s central switch system, NIBSS, which provides an avenue to capture 42 million unbanked Nigerians.
Nwanisobi said, “The CBN recognises the significant benefits from delivering Africa’s first central bank-driven domestic card scheme, which, when delivered at scale, has the potential to become the largest in Africa, and one of the largest in the world.”
The Managing Director, NIBSS, Premier Owoh, had hinted at the last Banker’s Committee meeting in October that a national domestic card would be designed to help accelerate acceptance and efficiency, and reduce operating costs of cards in the country.
Owoh explained the card would be configured to manage the payment ecosystem and improve payment across Nigeria.
“The card will provide affordable pricing. Charges on the card will be lower because it will be charged in Naira and not in foreign currency,” he had said.
He explained that the card would be optimised for local content solely for the Nigerian market and support micropayment and credit, e-government, identity management, transportation, health and agriculture, regarding payment.
The NIBSS chief expected the scheme to reduce reliance on cash across the landscape, and promote the CBN’s cashless policy.
The card will have components like debit cards, credit cards and non-interest cards.