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JUST IN: CBN set to scrap ATM cards, others, unveils National Domestic Card Scheme

A National Domestic Card Scheme has been announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and will go into effect on January 16, 2023.

This was reportedly said by Premier Owoh, the managing director of Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems Plc (NIBSS), on October 20, 2022, during a meeting of the Committee.

The action will be carried out in collaboration with the Bankers Committee and other stakeholders in the financial ecosystem with the goal of supporting stability, inclusivity, and growth in the financial and payment system.

The card programme was also anticipated to encourage domestic innovation in Nigeria while facilitating regional and global interoperability, enabling banks and other institutions to provide a range of solutions including debit, credit, virtual, loyalty, and tokenized cards among others.

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The rate of innovation and digitalisation, together with increased mobile penetration and the aggressive policy measures of the CBN, have boosted the use of digital financial services in Nigeria, which continues to be Africa’s largest and most dynamic economy.

Nigeria is in a prime position to successfully introduce a national card programme due to the strength and diversity of its banking sector as well as the quick expansion and transformation of its payments system over the past ten years.

It is necessary to develop an infrastructure that can supply less expensive payment services that are easier for Nigerians to access and afford in order to accelerate financial inclusion.

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The central bank noted that the programme could be used as a platform for the seamless dissemination of government-to-person payments and other social impact initiatives, enhancing financial access and supporting the growth of a robust and inclusive digital economy, in a statement released by CBN Director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi.

The bank also claimed that domesticating the card programme will increase data sovereignty, allow for the creation of locally relevant goods and services, and lessen the need for foreign currency.

Nigeria has joined a growing group of nations—leading examples include India, Turkey, China, and Brazil—that have introduced domestic card programmes and reaped the benefits for their individual payment and financial systems, particularly for the underbanked.

“The CBN acknowledges the substantial benefits from implementing Africa’s first central bank-driven, domestic card programme, which, when executed at scale, has the potential to become the largest in Africa and one of the largest in the world,” Osita said.


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