The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in line with its mandate to promote stability, inclusion and growth in the financial and payment system, has said the ongoing implementation of a National Domestic Card Scheme will commence January 16, 2023.
A statement from.the bank said as Africa’s largest and most vibrant economy, Nigeria is in a vantage position to successfully launch a domestic card scheme given the significant transformation in its payments system over the past decade.
It explained that this 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 statement indicated that 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. There is also 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 noted that the Nigerian domestic card scheme shall be delivered through the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) Plc, Nigeria’s central switch, in conjunction with the Bankers Committee and other financial ecosystem stakeholders. 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.
By this Nigeria joins a growing list of countries – India, Turkey, China, and Brazil as leading examples – who have launched successful domestic card schemes and harnessed the transformative benefits to their payments and financial systems, particularly for the underbanked. In this regard, the domestic card scheme will be an important game changer for financial inclusion in Nigeria.
The CBN, as primary regulator of Nigeria’s payment system in Africa’s most populous country, has strong aspirations 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.