Financial institutions in the country deployed a total of 456,234 Point of Sale (PoS) terminals in 2021, compared with 156,123 in the previous year, latest data released by Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) shows.
New Telegraph’s analysis of the data indicates that the total number of deployed PoS terminals in the industry increased from 459,285 at the end of December 2020 to 915,519 at the end of December last year. This implies that the financial institutions deployed a total of 456,234 terminals in 2021.
The breakdown of the data shows that although there has been a steady increase in the number of deployed PoS terminals in recent years, it seems to have significantly surged in the wake of COVID-19.
Further analysis of the NIBSS’ data, for instance, shows that the total number of deployed POS terminals in the industry increased from 155,462 at the end of December 2017 to 217,283 and 303,162 at the end of December 2018 and December 2019 respectively.
However, the data indicates that the total number of PoS terminals deployed in the industry jumped by 99.33 per cent to 915,519 in December last year, from 459,285 in December 2020.
Citing latest NIBSS’ data, New Telegraph recently reported that the value of transactions through PoS terminals in the country rose to N18.10 trillion between 2017 and 2021. Specifically, the data shows that PoS transactions maintained an upward trend in the last five years, jumping by 356.27 per cent to N6.43 trillion in 2021 from N1.41 trillion in 2017.
Analysts attribute the surge in the number of deployed PoS terminals and surge in PoS transactions to the growing adoption of electronic payment (e-payment) channels, in the last few years, as well as the impact of COVID-19.
Indeed, in its “Instant Payments – 2020 Annual Statistics,” the NIBSS stated: “COVID-19 changed the e-payments landscape, accelerating the adoption of instant payments as more people transitioned to electronic channels for funds exchange in the wake of government imposed lockdowns.”
Analysts also note that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s efforts to boost financial inclusion, which led it into introducing the agent banking system in 2013, under which financial institutions and mobile money operators could appoint third parties as agents, equipped with PoS terminals, to provide financial services on their behalf to members of the public, has helped to increase the deployment of the terminals.
The banking agents, who are popularly known as PoS operators in Nigeria, have been recording a boom in their business, especially since COVID-19 spread to the country in February 2020.
New Telegraph learnt that in order to cash in on the increased adoption of e-payment channels, Tier 1 lenders such as First Bank of Nigeria Ltd, Zenith Bank and Access Bank, in 2020, reportedly ordered a total of 100,000 PoS terminals for their Agent Banking business.
According to industry sources, First Bank, which at the time was already leading the industry with about 45,000 banking agents, was planning to deploy another 40,000 POS terminals, while Zenith Bank and Access Bank had ordered 50,000 and 10,000 terminals respectively, to drive their agency banking channels.
In addition, analysts ascribe the rapid deployment of PoS terminals to the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities (SANEF) initiative unveiled by the CBN, in collaboration with deposit money banks and licensed mobile money operators, in March 2018.
Under the initiative, the financial institutions planned an aggressive roll out of 500,000 agent network that would use PoS terminals to offer basic financial services, such as Cashin, Cash-out, funds transfer, bill payments, airtime purchase, government disbursements as well as remote enrolment on BMS Infrastructure (BVN) to an estimated 50 million Nigerians.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman, Body of Banks’ Chief Executive Officers, and Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, said: “This agreement reflects our commitment to aggressively pursue the CBN 2020 Financial Inclusion target in an integrated way with minimal systemic risk to the financial system. This initiative will also generate 500,000 new jobs over the next two years.”