CBN Launches Its Own Debit Card

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The apex bank of Nigeria, CBN has introduced a national domestic card scheme to facilitate financial inclusion and grow Nigeria’s payment system which would take effect from January 16, 2023.

No information has been provided regarding the procurement cost and operational charges, however, Nigerians as of Monday, January 16, will start receiving a new electronic card for domestic transactions that will be charged in Nigeria.

The CBN payment scheme will begin processing payments using both debit and credit cards as it is expected that this card will compete with other debit/credit card payment options like MasterCard and visa used by Nigerians.

This new payment scheme which was announced in a press briefing in October last year was CBN in conjunction with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc and the Banker’s Committee.

The Managing Director of NIBSS, Premier Oiwoh, disclosed at the conference that the domestic card scheme would reduce the operating costs of cards in Nigeria for both issuers and users.

He added that “The card would be optimized for local content solely for the Nigerian market and support micropayment and credit, e-government, identity management, transportation, health, and agriculture regarding payment,”.

While the CBN’s Director, of the Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, also agreed with Mr. Osita’s comment saying that “Considering the strength and breadth of its banking sector and the rapid growth and transformation of its payments system over the last decade, Nigeria is ideally positioned to successfully launch a national card scheme”.

It is expected that the new card will unify payments across the banking sector, and is crucial at this time when Nigerians are having issues with commercial banks over unnecessary card charges on their cards. While the card will be delivered to Nigerians through Nigeria’s central switch, the NIBSS in partnership with the Bankers Committee and other stakeholders in the financial ecosystem.

This development puts Nigeria among the list of countries that have launched similar cards for domestic use, which includes India, Turkey, China, and Brazil.

The CBN also disclosed in their statement that “The domestic card scheme will be an important game changer for financial inclusion in Nigeria.

“The plan is to deliver Africa’s first central bank-driven, domestic card scheme that combines a fully domestic infrastructure with international interoperability. Our plans will enable us to pivot into the largest card scheme in Africa, and amongst the biggest globally.”

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