Airtel has revealed its plans to assume the status of a Payment Service Bank. This move comes weeks after MTN Nigeria took a similar decision to apply for a payment banking licence.
Airtel says the move is directed at promoting financial inclusion in the country.
With over 40 million customers and a sprawling retail footprint across major nooks and crannies of the country, Airtel said it plans to leverage its distribution network to drive financial inclusion among the unbanked and financially excluded.
Airtel made known that it would apply for the Payment Service Bank licence through a subsidiary as directed in the Central Bank of Nigeria’s guidelines, adding that it had a vision of becoming the largest and most secured PSB in Nigeria.
The company commended the apex bank for issuing guidelines for licensing of PSBs, saying the move would enhance access to financial services to the rural poor, low-income earners and the financially- excluded in the society.
Sabinews earlier reported the MTN Group announced its plans to apply for a payment banking licence which would become operational in 2019.
Nigeria has recorded a 50 percent increase in the volume of mobile money transactions within January to September this year.
Figures released by the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) show that in the nine months under review, the volume of mobile money transaction was N1.2 trillion. This is a huge increase, compared with N795.18 billion recorded in the same period last year.
The figures also show an increase in the number of mobile money customers from 3.2 million to 5.54 million during the same period this year. According to NIBSS, the growth is indicative that Nigerians are beginning to accept the reality of mobile money transactions since the CBN launched the initiative a few years back.
Kenya’s success in the use of mobile money transactions pioneered by Safaricom as well as the payment method’s popularity in East Africa has convinced investors and the industry that financial services are the next growth area for telecoms to offset falling prices for basic services.