Friday, 23 November 2012 00:00
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Nigeria e-payment cards hits 26m

The number of e-payment cards currently in circulation in Nigeria has reached 26 million as the cashless policy gains traction. The Director, Switching and Processing, Interswitch, Mr. Akeem Lawal, who spoke with newsmen during the inauguration of the Verve National Consumer Promotion in Lagos, said the number of e-Payment cards, popularly called ATM cards held by Nigerians, grew from seven million in 2010, to 11 million in 2011 and 26 million in 2012.
This, according to him, is expected to increase as more and more Nigerians embrace e-Payment transactions via Automated Teller Machines, Point of Sale terminals and the web.

Lawal said 16 million out of the 26 million ATM cards currently in circulation were Interswitch Verve cards being issued by over 16 commercial banks and well over 14 microfinance banks.

“16 million out of the 26 million e-Payment cards currently in circulation in the Nigerian market are Verve cards by Interswitch. Over 30 commercial and microfinance banks issue these cards as we speak,” he said.
The remaining 10 million e-Payment cards in the Nigerian market, according to him, are shared by Master and Visa, two global payment card players currently widening their market shares in the country.
Industry analysts said this clearly showed that Interswitch remained a dominant force in the country’s e-Payment landscape as far as cards were concerned.

They also pointed out that the number of e-Payment cards in the market was just a little higher than the number of bank accounts currently put at over 22 million. This, they said, meant that majority of the e-Payment cardholders were those with bank accounts. A situation, they said, which required that financial inclusion for the unbanked/under-banked Nigerians must remain in the front burner of the CBN policy.
Speaking on the possible impact of the cash-less economic policy on card uptake in the country, Lawal noted that the policy had only influenced card usage rather than the uptake.