Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nigerian Mobile Money Survey

IMTFI is pleased to be able to offer insight into Nigerian trends based on this survey of over 4000 rural and urban Nigerians from every region of the country. In light of the mobile money industry’s interest in Nigeria, and the recent issuing of licenses by the Central Bank of Nigeria to 11 mobile money businesses, we hope that the trends that we have identified here will allow for a better understanding of this important area in its own terms, not just in reference to the mobile money miracle of Kenya.

The survey revealed information including the gender and location of banked and unbanked populations, respondents' experiences with mobile money, their preferences regarding mobile channels, their preferences regarding mobile money providers and mobile money transactions, and how they anticipate using mobile money when they have access to it.

These data suggest that Nigeria is ready for mobile money, especially money transfer. Bill pay is desired by Nigerian respondents and that mobile money agents are likely to play an important role as the Nigerian mobile money system develops. They also reveal that potential clients have very mixed feelings about banks, and different kinds of worries regarding theft and fraud. Concern and confidence depend on where and who respondents are in Nigeria.

Click here to read our working paper!


  1. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has not made any public announcement regarding mobile payment licensees and the 11 firms cited in the above link are self-reported. To the best of our knowledge a more complete listing counts 21 firms with licenses that break out three ways: (1) bank-focused, (2) bank-led and (3) non-bank led. Definitions and an alphabetized listing of licensees follows.

    Approaches and services among the licensees differ and CBN’s policies should produce a payments ecosystem rich with consumer choice. CBN has also mandated interoperability; details are, however, still TBD, as is any role the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) may play.

    Bank Focused
    This is a model where a bank delivers banking services to existing and prospective bank customers using the mobile phone as a delivery channel. This model can only be deployed by a licensed deposit-taking financial institution. Licensed deposit-taking financial institutions, under this model shall include, deposit money banks, microfinance banks and discount houses.

    First Bank (soon)
    Fortis Microfinance Bank
    Stanbic IBTC

    This is a model where a bank, or a consortium of banks, partnering with other organizations, jointly seeks to deliver banking services leveraging on the mobile banking system. This model shall be applicable only in a scenario where there exists collaboration between a licensed deposit-taking financial institution(s) and an organization duly verified by the partner bank(s). Licensed deposit-taking financial institutions, under this model shall include, deposit money banks, microfinance banks and discount houses.

    Bharti Airtel (soon)
    GT Bank/MTN

    Non-bank led
    This model allows a corporate organisation that has been duly approved by CBN to deliver mobile payments services to consumers. This model shall be applicable to any organization other than a licensed deposit money bank and telecommunication companies. Corporate organisation, under this model, include switching companies and payments system service providers.

    Chams (soon)
    Corporeti (soon)
    Moneybox Africa
    Parkway (soon)

  2. Africa has rarely produced a leader in any type of industry, let alone a technology-driven one. Yet, that's exactly what's happened to the world of mobile payments. M-Pesa has been doing it for quite some time.

  3. @Joel- Thanks for sharing a more complete listing of the firms which have licenses! We look forward to seeing what happens next.

    It's certainly interesting that there are relatively few licenses given to bank-focused or bank-led firms, given the feelings about banks expressed by our survey respondents. While people without access to banks want them, people with access and bank accounts would prefer mobile money services to bank services. This could represent a real opportunity for banks to reach out to the rural unbanked, but also a chance for network operators, too!