The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced a new domestic card scheme called “AfriGo”.
The bank says the card will promote greater use of electronic platforms.
In a statement posted on their Twitter page, the top Nigerian bank expects the new scheme to “strengthen the national payment system and deepen the usage of electronic platforms for Nigeria.”
Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, says the Bank Cashless Policy has added value and encouraged competition and investment in Nigeria’s banking and economic system, and this new card scheme will provide even more options for domestic consumers.
What is the Domestic Card Scheme?
The Domestic Card Scheme launched by Nigeria’s top bank on Thursday will compete with foreign cards such as Visa and MasterCard.
CBN and Nigerian banks are the owners of AfriGo, and Emefiele says Nigeria has joined countries like China, Russia, India, and Turkey in having their own domestic card scheme.
With this new AfriGo card scheme, Africa’s largest economy is targeting to save the country the foreign transaction fees they pay when using foreign cards.
This scheme will make it possible for Nigerians to be in control of their data and address some of the challenges the country faces with the use of foreign exchange.
The scheme will also reduce the abuse connected with handling cash.
With immediate effect, all card and online transactions will move to the domestic card scheme.
Emefiele explains further
Emefiele says, even though card payments in Nigeria have grown over the years with foreign cards, there are still many people in the country who are excluded.
“The challenges that limited the inclusion of Nigerians include the high cost of card services due to the foreign exchange requirements of international card schemes and the fact that the existing card products do not address the local uniqueness of the Nigeria market,” Emefiele said.
This does not mean that international card service providers like MasterCard and Visa will stop in Nigeria.
The governor says the aim of AfriGo is to “provide more options for domestic consumers while delivering services in a more innovative, cost-effective, and competitive manner.”
Nigeria, with a population of over 200 million people, still mainly uses cash because they live in villages where banks are not present.