• Friday, July 19, 2024
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CBN eyes enhanced digital financial services with domestic card launch

CBN resumes dollar sales to banks left out of Tuesday deals

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the launch of a National Domestic Card Scheme currently undergoing implementation and will be effective January 16, 2023.

This was contained in a statement by the CBN, where it noted that this move aligns with its mandate to promote stability, inclusion and growth in the financial and payment system.

According to the financial regulator, Nigeria as Africa’s largest and most vibrant economy is in a vantage position to successfully launch a domestic card scheme given the significant transformation in its payments system over the past decade.

This transformation has been driven by rapid digital and technological innovation, increasing mobile penetration and the proactive policy initiatives of the CBN which have spurred unprecedented adoption of digital financial services.

“The CBN recognises the tremendous benefits of the domestic card scheme in reducing costs and use of foreign exchange, protection of data sovereignty, enabling locally relevant propositions; and making cards and payments more accessible and affordable for Nigerians,” it read.

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The apex bank noted that there is also a potential to leverage the scheme as a platform for seamless dissemination of government-to-person payments and other social impact initiatives, ultimately enhancing financial inclusion and supporting the growth of a robust digital economy.

“It will foster innovation within the Nigerian domestic market and the African continent allowing banks and other institutions to offer a variety of solutions including debit, credit, virtual, loyalty and tokenised cards amongst others,” it added.

The Nigerian domestic card scheme will be delivered through the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) plc, Nigeria’s central switch, bankers committee and other financial ecosystem stakeholders.

The CBN noted that with this move, Nigeria joins a growing list of countries such as India, Turkey, China, and Brazil who have launched successful domestic card schemes and harnessed the transformative benefits to their payments and financial systems, particularly for the underbanked.

The CBN added that as a primary regulator of Nigeria’s payment system, it has strong aspirations to deliver Africa’s first central bank-driven, domestic card scheme that combines a fully domestic infrastructure with international interoperability.

“The domestic card scheme will be an important game changer for financial inclusion in Nigeria; our plans will enable us to pivot into the largest card scheme in Africa, and amongst the biggest globally,” it added.