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Customers’ appetite for cheque usage declines further

…as value of banks’ deals peaked at N3.2trn in 2021

Bank customers in the country have continued to embrace electronic channels of financial transactions as emerging facts indicate a sustained decline in cheque usage across board. Findings by New Telegraph revealed that commercial banks in the country processed a total of cheques with a value of N3.2 trillion in 2021.

According to data released by Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), this represents a marginal decline of three per cent compared with N3.3 trillion recorded in 2020. While cheque transactions have been declining consistently over the last four years, industry analysts said the decrease recorded in 2021 was marginal as a result of the onemonth suspension of the paper transaction in the preceding year and the COVID- 19 lockdown imposed during the same period. In terms of the volume of cheques issued last year, there was also a decline compared with 2020.

The NIBSS data revealed that a total of 4.4 million cheques were issued last year compared with 4.9 million recorded in the preceding year. This represents a 10.2 per cent decline in cheque issuance. A breakdown of the cheque transaction data for the year 2021 showed that cheques valued at N248 billion were processed in January. In February, the figure stood at N277 billion, while N377 billion was recorded in March.

In April, the value of cheque transactions stood at N243 billion, while N246 billion was recorded in May. The data revealed that cheques valued at N263 billion were processed across the country in June. In July, the value of cheque transactions across the country stood at N248 billion, while N265 billion was recorded in August. In September, a total of cheques valued at N269 billion were cleared by the banks, while N257 billion was processed in October. November’s value stood at N281 billion, while the highest monthly value for the year was recorded in December at N300 billion. On an annual basis, the value of cheque transactions has been on a steady decline to hit an all-time low of N5 trillion in 2018, from an all-time high of 17.8 trillion recorded in 2009. The decline is attributed to the growing preference for electronic payment channels, which are considered faster than cheque. On the other hand, electronic platforms such as Point of Sales (PoS), Mobile Transfer, NIBSS Instant payment, E-Bills Payment, among others continue to record increase in volume and value of transactions on monthly basis. Meanwhile, the NIBSS data has revealed that bank customers in the country withdrew a total of N1.4 trillion from the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) last year. Compared with 2020 when N656 billion was recorded, this showed that there was a 113 per cent increase in cash withdrawal from the ATM last year.




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