Access Bank, Airtel Team Up To Launch Nigeria’s Newest Mobile Money Service

Ventures Africa, November 21, 2014 (by Niyi Aderibigbe)

VENTURES AFRICA – Nigeria’s fourth largest bank, Access Bank Plc, has signed a deal with Airtel Nigeria that will see its mobile money service run on the network of the mobile operator. The collaboration is aimed at boosting financial inclusion in the country.

Group Managing Director of Access Bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe said the mobile payment platform, Access Money, was introduced in line with the the financial inclusion initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“It is something that reaches new groups of people and helps them to build and grow the success stories of tomorrow. And it’s something we are proud to champion,” said Wigwe.

Customers, who sign up for the new service, will be able to use a mobile phone to pay for a wide range of services. Customers will also be able to do card-less withdrawals from any ATM machine owned by Access Bank or receive money through agents nationwide.

Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access (EFInA), a financial sector development organization that promotes financial inclusion in Nigeria, noted in a 2012 report that 39.7 percent of the country’s adult population were financially excluded.

Mobile money has been successful in some parts of Africa, especially in Kenya where close to Sh2 trillion (about $23 billion) were moved last year via 733 million transactions, according to the Central Bank of Kenya. Zambia’s Central Bank also reported last year that the country’s mobile money accounts had reached 3.4 million compared to 2 million bank accounts. Such success stories have however eluded the mobile money market in Nigeria.

“Nigeria is not a hospitable place for mobile payments,” MasterCard said in its recently released Mobile Payment Readiness Index (MPRI). “The regulatory environment, the legal system, the technology grid, and the banking system lag their sub-region and global counterparts”.

Wigwe however said that the partnership between Airtel and Access Bank will deepen financial inclusion and bring more Nigerians into the formal financial system.