Business

Electronic bills’ payments hit N159.8bn

•PoS deals decline

The value of bills paid through electronic channel of the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) in August rose to N159.8 billion, New Telegraph has learnt. This came as the highest monthly value recorded in the last four years. Compared with N48.6 billion recorded in the same month of last year, it represented a 228 per cent growth year-on-year. In July this year, the value of e-bills stood at N136.5 billion, which made the August value a 17 per cent increase over the previous month.

The e-bills pay is an account- based, online real-time product that facilitates the payment of bills from an account. It ensures instant credit of payments and receipt of collections on behalf of billers/ merchant recruited on the platform. Currently, the platform is used for payments such as utility bills, cable TV subscriptions, hotel and airline bookings, school fees and airtime top-up. According to data released by NIBSS, more Nigerians are now embracing payment of bills electronically as opposed to paying with cash. With this, the value of bills paid be tween January and August this year, which stood at N866 billion, has exceeded the value recorded throughout 2019, which was N652 billion. Volume of transactions in August also rose to 79,945 in the previous month to 87,889, which represents a 9.9 per cent increase. Aside from the drive to boost e-payments by the Central Bank of Nigeria and the commercial banks, industry analysts have attributed the geometric growth in electronic payment this year to the outbreak of coronavirus.

While the total lockdown imposed in some states between March and April had forced many to transact businesses using the online transfer platforms, cashless transactions are being rec- Samson Akintaro The value of bills paid through electronic channel of the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) in August rose to N159.8 billion, New Telegraph has learnt. This came as the highest monthly value recorded in the last four years. Compared with N48.6 billion recorded in the same month of last year, it represented a 228 per cent growth year-on-year.

In July this year, the value of e-bills stood at N136.5 billion, which made the August value a 17 per cent increase over the previous month. The e-bills pay is an account- based, online real-time product that facilitates the payment of bills from an account.

It ensures instant credit of payments and receipt of collections on behalf of billers/ merchant recruited on the platform. Currently, the platform is used for payments such as utility bills, cable TV subscriptions, hotel and airline bookings, school fees and airtime top-up. According to data released by NIBSS, more Nigerians are now embracing payment of bills electronically as opposed to paying with cash. With this, the value of bills paid beommended globally as a means to limit contact spread of the virus.

A look at other e-payment platforms showed that transactions valued at N386.3 billion were carried out over the point of sales (PoS) terminals across the country in August. According to NIBSS report, this was a 7.3 per cent decline when compared with N416.7 billion recorded in July. However, placed side by side with the N294 billion transactions recorded in the same period last year, the August figure showed 31 per cent increase. The volume of transactions also declined from 53.9 million recorded in July to 50.6 million in August, which again was higher than the 41.3 million recorded in the same period of last year.

The transactions were carried out over 372,330 active terminals deployed by merchants across the country. This showed that additional 11,796 terminals were deployed in August as the number of deployed machines stood at 360,534 as of July. However, there is still a gap between the number of registered PoS and the number of deployed machines. According to NIBSS, 570,601 PoS were registered as of August, which showed that a total of 198, 271 terminals are either yet to be deployed or have become inactive. Meanwhile, Principal/Divisional Lead at Mastercard Advisors (Sub-Saharan Africa), Bola Asiru, has called for more innovation in the e-payment system to limit contacts.

Speaking recently at the American Business Council Economic Update in partnership with Mastercard, Asiru noted that the changes in payment patterns also stemmed from a rising consciousness that limiting contacts with cash will not be sufficient if payment cards still have to be handled by different parties before payment is made. In the bid to limit contact, “businesses need to adapt their strategic plans in order to add value to evolving consumer needs,” Asiru noted in his presentation during the virtual conference. “Contactless technology has proven to be an asset in a world where consumers must limit contact with cash,” he said.

The use of POS machines and ATMs in Nigeria currently requires an individual to provide the card for the cashier to swipe, or inserting one’s card into the machine to retrieve cash. After this, the buyer still replaces the card in his wallet. Contactless payment solution seeks a dispensation where contact is totally avoided. This means a secure payment method using a debit or credit card, smartcard, or another payment device by using RFID technology or near-field communication, so that the customer can effect payment without the card having any direct contact with the machine and his hand or card.

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