From Uche Usim, Abuja


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Sunday, disclosed that the national domestic card scheme, to be unveiled on January 16, 2023, will deepen financial inclusion and oil the financial payment ecosystem for efficient service delivery.

Mr Osita Nwanisobi, Director, Corporate Communications of the CBN, who made the disclosure in a statement, said the 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 stakeholders.

According to him, the new offering will 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.

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“Nigeria joins a growing list of countries – 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.

“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”, he explained.

While emphasizing that Nigeria remains Africa’s largest and most vibrant economy, he said the apex bank has quickened the pace of digitisation and innovation, alongside the expansion of mobile penetration through its proactive policy initiatives.

“CBN has driven the accelerated adoption of digital financial services. Considering the strength and breadth of its banking sector and the rapid growth and transformation of its payments system over the last decade, Nigeria is 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”, he added.