Financial Inclusion: CBN To Launch National Domestic Card Scheme

In line with its mandate to promote stability, inclusion and growth in the financial and payment system, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS), and Bankers Committee has announced the introduction of a National Domestic Card Scheme effective January 16, 2023.

This was disclosed in a statement by the Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Osita Nwanisobi on Friday 21, 2022 in Abuja.

With the launch, Nigeria will join a growing list of countries like India, Turkey, China, and Brazil as leading examples – which have launched domestic card schemes and harnessed the transformative benefits for their respective payments and financial systems, particularly for the underbanked.

CBN said, Nigeria is Africa’s largest and most vibrant economy and the pace of digitisation and innovation, alongside the expansion of mobile penetration and the proactive policy initiatives of the bank have driven the accelerated adoption of digital financial services.

It said, considering the strength and breadth of its banking sector and the rapid growth and transformation of its payments system over the last decade, Nigeria was ideally positioned to successfully launch a national card scheme.

“Building on this platform to accelerate financial inclusion requires infrastructure that can deliver lower cost payments services that are more accessible and affordable for Nigerians.

“Domesticating our card scheme also enhances data sovereignty, enabling the development of locally relevant products and services and reduces demands on foreign exchange.

“The scheme can also be leveraged as a platform for the seamless dissemination of government-to-person payments and other social impact initiatives, enhancing financial access and supporting the growth of a robust and inclusive digital economy.”

The apex bank said, the national domestic card scheme shall be delivered through the NIBSS Plc, Nigeria’s central switch, in conjunction with the Bankers Committee and other financial ecosystem stakeholders.

It said, it would foster innovation within the Nigerian domestic market, while enabling African and international interoperability, allowing banks and other institutions to offer a variety of solutions including debit, credit, virtual, loyalty and tokenized cards amongst others.

“The CBN recognizes the significant benefits from delivering Africa’s first central bank-driven, domestic card scheme, which, when delivered at scale, has the potential to become the largest in Africa, and one of the largest in the world”, the statement said.

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