Banks customers in Nigeria transferred a total of N14.3 trillion electronically in July, data released by the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) has revealed. The transactions, which were carried out through the NIBSS Instant Payment (NIP) platform, represented a 60.7 per cent growth when compared with N8.9 trillion recorded in the same period of 2019.
The NIP, an account-number based, online-real-time Inter-Bank payment solution, was introduced in 2011 to provide instant value to customers engaging in financial transactions and have grown to become the most preferred payment platform, having recorded the highest volume and value of transactions over the years.
The July figure also showed a 16 per cent increase in the value of funds transferred electronically when compared with N12.3 trillion recorded in the preceding month.
According to the latest e-payment data released by NIBSS, the volume of NIP transactions also increased from 96.8 million in July 2019 to 184.9 million in July 2020. This showed a 91 per cent growth in the volume of transactions over the platform.
Industry analysts had predicted a boom in electronic payments following the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Aside from the total lockdown imposed in some states between March and April, which forced many to transact businesses using the online transfer platforms, cashless transactions are being recommended globally as a means to limit contact spread of the virus.
In that regard, the NIBSS data showed that electronic payments through the various platforms made available by banks and facilitated by NIBSS sustained their gains in the period under review. For instance, transactions over Point of Sales (PoS), rose by 49 per cent as the value of transactions on the platform across the country in July stood at N416.7 billion compared with N279.4 billion recorded in the same period of last year.
In terms of volume of transactions, the platform also recorded 37.5 per cent increase as the volume of PoS transactions in July stood at N53.9 million compared with 39.2 million recorded in the same period of last year.
NIBSS further disclosed that out of a total of 548, 592 terminals registered by Nigerian banks, only 360,534 had been actively deployed for use as of July. This brought the number of inactive PoS terminals in the country to 188,058.
Meanwhile, paper-based transactions in the country continued its downward trajectory in July as cheques valued at N251 billion were processed in the month. Compared with N402 billion recorded in the same period last year, this represented a 37.5 decline. However, the July record showed an improvement over N241 billion recorded in June this year.
On an annual basis, the value of cheque transactions has been on a steady decline to hit an all-time low of N5 trillion in 2018, from an all-time high of 17.8 trillion recorded in 2009. The decline is attributed to the growing preference for electronic payment channels, which are considered faster than cheque.