The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has begun the deployment of the National Domestic Card Scheme, today, January 16, 2023.
The card designed in partnership with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBBS) seeks to unify payments in Nigeria and bring in the unbanked population.
The card is expected to compete with other debit cards, including Mastercard, Discovery, and Visa cards but for now, cannot process international payments.
Following its introduction, local banks and other financial institutions will be in a position to offer payment solutions like debit, credit, virtual, loyalty, and tokenized cards, non-interest cards, and identity cards.
Announcing the deployment CBN’s Director, Corporate Communications Department Osita Nwanisobi, over the weekend announced that the National Domestic Card was introduced because of its belief that Nigeria had achieved “significant transformation in its payments system over the past decade.
He added that this has been driven by rapid digital and technological innovation, increasing mobile penetration, and the proactive policy initiatives of the CBN which have spurred unprecedented adoption of digital financial services.”
He listed the benefits of the card scheme to include among others, reduction of cost and use of foreign exchange, protection of data sovereignty, enabling locally relevant propositions, and making cards and payments more accessible and affordable for Nigerians.
“Given that MasterCard, Visa, Discovery, and other such cards are foreign controlled, the bank said National Domestic Card would ensure “improved sovereignty and security of our data and its operations will be locally based. It will also help to improve and drive financial inclusion nationwide”.
“The card also has the potential to leverage its platform for seamless dissemination of government-to-person payments and other social impact initiatives, ultimately enhancing financial inclusion and supporting the growth of a robust digital economy,” CBN added.
The card will be delivered through Nigeria’s central switch, the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) Plc, in conjunction with the Bankers Committee and other financial ecosystem stakeholders.
Nigeria is not the first
Today’s deployment will enlist Nigeria into the growing list of countries like India, Turkey, China, and Brazil that have launched similar cards for domestic use.
The countries have harnessed the transformative benefits of the schemes to drive their payments and financial systems, particularly for the underbanked.
The CBN said: “The domestic card scheme will be an important game changer for financial inclusion in Nigeria.
“The plan is to deliver Africa’s first central bank-driven, domestic card scheme that combines a fully domestic infrastructure with international interoperability.
“Our plans will enable us to pivot into the largest card scheme in Africa, and amongst the biggest globally.”
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