The number of individuals with bank accounts in Nigeria have increased by 7.5 per cent as customers withdrew N3.17 trillion from 17,808 Automated Teller Machines across the country.

Data released by the Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) recently showed that the number of individual bank account owners swelled from 63 million as at June last year to 67.7 million by the end of the first six months of 2018.

This saw the total number of bank accounts also rise from 98 million which it was as at June, 2017 to 111.4 million bank accounts. The data from NIBSS, which processes all electronic transactions in the country showed that there has been an increasing acceptance of electronic payment channels in the country.

Average volume of daily transaction done via point of sales (PoS) terminals had swelled by more than 104 per cent in the space of one year rising from 328,297 as at June last year to 671,070 by the end of the first half of 2018.

Total transaction figure for PoS usage stood at 120.79 million as at June 2018 compared to the June 2017 figure of 59.42 million, while transaction value rose to N1.02 trillion, from N610 billion. The number of PoS deployed had increased by 47.3 per cent during the period under review to 185,026 from 125,608.

ATM transactions volume and value had also risen from 336.77 million and N3.05 trillion in the first half of 2017 to 429.79 million and N3.17 trillion as at June 2018 respectively as the number of active cards in circulation rose to 38 million, up from 29.24 million.

At the Mobile Money end, despite a spike in the number of agents the number of customers as well as transaction volume and value had dropped when compared to the figures of 2017. According to the NIBSS EPayment Fact Sheet, the number of customers of the 21 Mobile Money Operators in the country had declined by 34.7 per cent.

From 2.3 million recorded as at June 2017, the number of MMOs’ customers dropped to 1.5 million. This is not withstanding a 137 per cent swell in the number of agents.

The number of MMO agents across the country had risen from 5,517 as at June 2017 to 13,113 as at June 2018 as the value of transactions decline to N429.79 billion as against N555.83 billion recorded in the comparable period of 2017. The volume of transactions had however risen from 24.17 million to 35.94 million.

The banking industry alongside the Central Bank of Nigeria is working towards driving financial inclusion in the country with the deployment of 500,000 agents. Mobile money since its debut in 2006 has yet to fully take of as statistics from the EFInA Access to Financial Services in Nigeria 2016 Survey show that in spite of a 60.4 per cent mobile phones penetration in the country, MMOs have only been able to reach one per cent of the Nigerian population.

According to Programme Specialist, Agent Networks at EFInA, Henry Chukwu, mobile money is an obvious channel for Nigerians at the bottom of the pyramid to use as they adopt financial services for the first time.

“Mobile money is an obvious channel for Nigerians at the bottom of the pyramid to use as they adopt financial services for the first time. Up to 25 mobile money Operators (MMOs) have been licensed since the launch of mobile money service in Nigeria in 2009. Despite this large number of MMOs, high mobile phone and SIM card ownership, mobile money uptake and usage is still low in Nigeria” he stated.