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Mobile Network Providers Set to Drive Financial Inclusion in Nigeria

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The global development of Financial Technology (FinTech) has necessitated mobile network providers to drive financial inclusion in Nigeria.

The incursion of telecommunication companies into the financial services space has been a laudable development for stakeholders in the technology sector. A large number of them believe that these telecommunication companies have what it takes to bank the unbanked across the country. 

Investors King gathered that two of the largest mobile networks in Nigeria, during the past week, commenced the operation of their Payment Services.

MTN, in its official statement, revealed that Nigerians will enjoy easy to use, accessible, and affordable financial services through its MoMo wallet.

On the same day, Airtel Africa also announced that it will roll out the full operation of its PSB SmartCash. 

Airtel Group Chief Executive Officer, Segun Ogunsanya assured that SmartCash will help further digitise the economy and most importantly, help bank the unbanked by reaching the millions of Nigerians who do not currently have access to financial services by delivering current and savings accounts, payment and remittance services, debit and prepayment cards and more sophisticated services.

“SmartCash Payment Service Bank Limited (‘SmartCash PSB’) Services will initially be available at selected retail touchpoints, and operations will be expanded gradually across the country over the next few months,” Ogunsanya said. 

What the CBN wants 

The Central Bank of Nigeria has since, within the past years, intensified its commitment to ensuring a satisfactory financial inclusion rate in Nigeria. The apex bank released a supervisory framework for the operation of these payment service banks.

In 2018, CBN introduced a new type of banking license,the Payment Service Banks (PSBs), with the aim of leveraging the strengths of businesses such as mobile network operators while maintaining a bank-led rather than a telecoms-led banking model.

“The Payment Service Banks are expected to leverage on technology to provide services that would be easily accessed by the unbanked population and those who are in hard-to-reach areas of the country,” CBN said. 

It is expected that through this development, Nigeria should attain the desirable  height in terms of financial inclusion.  

Currently, according to the data obtained by Investors King from Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA), over four million (4,682,492) Nigerians have been financially included through its funded grant projects, including 2 million women.

Recall that the overall financial inclusion target was 80 percent by 2020, while adult Nigerians with access to payment services was to increase from 21.6 percent in 2010 to 70 per cent in 2020.

However, by the end of 2020, EFInA data shows that only 64 per cent of Nigerian adults were financially included, a report said.

This means that 36 per cent of Nigerian adults, or 38 million adults, remained completely financially excluded as at 2020. 

According to the Apex Bank, the key objective of issuing PSB licenses is to boost financial inclusion especially in rural areas and facilitate transactions.

What Financial Inclusion means to Nigerians

Financial inclusion means that people have access to basic financial services like a savings account, credit and insurance. A higher exclusion rate in Nigeria could lead to a poorer population as lack of access to credit and insurance puts them at an economic disadvantage.

Financial inclusion is a strong lever for bridging income inequality, combating poverty and preserving social harmony. The CBN has accordingly been at the forefront of the efforts to drive financial inclusion in Nigeria by championing the development & implementation of Nigeria’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy led by the CBN Governor.  

The Deputy Governor and Chair of the Financial Inclusion Technical Committee, had once said that the next phase of financial inclusion in Nigeria is to bank the unbanked women, bridging the inequalities in the sector.

Despite progress achieved to date, critical groups remained excluded, including women, rural dwellers and citizens in the northern area. To address the issue with women, CBN launched a Framework for Advancing Women’s Financial Inclusion in Nigeria in 2020.

The CBN is also leading the industry to implement the framework, which is expected to lead to significant increase in women financial inclusion in Nigeria.

By all indications, there is no certainty of meeting the 2020 financial inclusion targets until around 2030. 

However, Nigeria can build on this initial progress and drive faster financial inclusion growth through digital financial services like mobile money, by creating an open and level playing field for a wide range of providers, creating the right environment for fintech to thrive, and encouraging partnerships between different providers. 

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Elon Musk Push Plans For Twitter to Offer Fintech Services

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Elon Musk and Twitter

Twitter CEO Elon Musk is currently pushing ahead with his plans for Twitter to offer fintech services, as he seeks to incorporate a payments option on the platform.

This move is suggested to be connected to Musk’s statement after he neared a deal to buy Twitter, in which he disclosed via a Tweet that the platform would be an everything app. He tweeted, “Buying Twitter is an accelerant to creating X, the everything app”.

After he purchased the company, on November 2022, Musk revealed his vision for Twitter to enter the payments market during a live-streamed meeting with Twitter advertisers, hosted on Twitter spaces.

Musk hinted that in the future, users would be able to send money to others on the platform, extract their funds to authenticated bank accounts, and after, perhaps, be offered a high-yield money market account to encourage them to move their cash to Twitter.

Investors King understands that Twitter has already started the process of developing software and applying for regulatory licenses to add a payment component to the platform.

Sources familiar with Twitter’s plan disclosed that the platform has started applying for state licenses after filing to be a payments processor with the U.S. treasury in November.

Few analysts suggest that Musk’s plan to incorporate the payments option on Twitter could be him making a move to restore lost revenue after advertisers on the platform paused their ads over concerns regarding content moderation and free speech policy.

Musk plan to push Twitter into the online payment space could pose a threat to online payment giant Paypal

Meanwhile, the financial times noted that if eventually Twitter becomes a payments processor, it would face stiff competition from existing apps within that sphere, also noting that it could also expect to contend with high levels of regulatory scrutiny, potentially presenting another level of difficulty for the company.

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Macroeconomic Environment Forces Paypal to Trim 7% of Its Global Workforce

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In a bid to navigate the challenging macro-economic environment, American payment platform Paypal has revealed plans to trim 7% of its global workforce, approximately 2,000 of its full-time employees.

The company’s recent layoff plan was shared with employees by its president and CEO Dan Schulman, via a memo, stating that the layoff plan was necessitated for Paypal to effectively address the challenging macroeconomic environment, while continuing to invest to meet customers’ needs.

The memo reads in part,

“Over the past year, we made significant progress in strengthening and reshaping our company to address the challenging macroeconomic environment while continuing to invest to meet our customers’ needs.

“While we have made substantial progress in right-sizing our cost structure, and focused our resources on our core strategic priorities, we have more work to do. We must continue to change as our world, our customers, and our competitive landscape evolve.

“Addressing these changes requires us to make hard decisions that will impact some of our colleagues. Today, I’m writing to share the difficult news that we will be reducing our global workforce by approximately 2,000 full-time employees, which is about 7% of our total workforce. These reductions will occur over the coming weeks, with some organizations impacted more than others”.

The CEO further disclosed that laid-off employees will be provided with generous packages, also they will be provided with consultations where required to support their transition.

In the company’s third quarter (Q3) report, Paypal reported net revenue of $6.18 billion, adding 13.3 million net new active accounts, to bring its total active accounts to 416 billion.

It also reported a net income of $1.47 billion, Non-GAAP earnings were $1.11 per share, falling short of Wall Street’s estimated earnings of $1.08 per share on revenue of $6.24 billion.

Paypal’s recent layoff announcement marks the latest round of job cuts in the tech industry as tech most firms in recent times, have laid off a significant amount of their workforce in response to the global economic downturn.

Companies such as Microsoft, Spotify, Salesforce, Amazon, Meta, Google, etc, have all laid off a significant percentage of their workforce.

Investors King understands that more than 58,000 workers in U.S.-based tech companies have been laid off in mass job cuts so far in 2023.

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Over 320 Million Credit Cards to Be Issued Globally by 2027, as Digital Platforms Expand into New Markets

The number of credit cards issued via digital card issuance platforms will exceed 321 million globally by 2027, from 120 million in 2023

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A new study from Juniper Research has found that the number of credit cards issued via digital card issuance platforms will exceed 321 million globally by 2027, from 120 million in 2023.

This growth of almost 170% reflects the use of new advanced digital capabilities, such as digital loyalty schemes and instant issuance, as card issuers aim to combat competition, including buy now pay later.

Digital card issuance platforms allow card issuers to create cards using an API-driven approach; enabling cards to be delivered instantly to digital wallets, with the option for a physical card; boosting flexibility significantly.

Digital Issuance Critical to Addressing $9.7 Trillion Opportunity

The new report, Credit Cards Strategies: Innovation Analysis, Digital Transformation & Market Forecasts 2023-2027, found that credit cards will account for over $9.7 trillion in spend globally by 2027. This represents a significant opportunity for card issuers to drive revenue growth by choosing the optimal credit card strategy. It found that rising affluence in emerging markets will be a significant driver of credit card adoption. As such, digital card issuance platforms are critical to delivering credit offerings in these mobile wallet-dominated markets.

Research co-author Nick Maynard explained further: “In emerging markets, the ability to instantly issue digital cards will be a key factor in users choosing credit cards over other payment methods. Card issuance platform vendors must ensure localisation to enable cards to be quickly pushed to the wallets popular in each market.”

Loyalty Rewards Critical to Credit Card Popularity

The research predicts that by 2027, the monetary value of rewards for users from credit card use will reach $103 billion globally, driving overall adoption. It recommends that card issuers focus on app-based loyalty to maximise the appeal of these rewards; partnering with well-connected digital loyalty programme providers to maximise their appeal. If issuers fail to do this, they will lose out to better-connected vendors in a highly competitive credit cards market.

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