Airtel Africa and MTN Nigeria have finally launched their mobile banking services in Nigeria.
Announced via a stock market filing, Airtel Africa detailed its services are currently available via selected retail locations but will be extended across the country over the next few months. In November last year, the Central Bank of Nigeria granted its platform Smartcash provisional approval for a Payment Service Bank licence, with the full licence granted in April 2022.
Airtel Africa CEO Segun Ogunsanya said that the licence would allow Airtel Africa to deliver a full suite of mobile money services which would improve the lives of “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”.
“This is the beginning of our journey to revolutionise the financial services landscape in the country,” concluded Ogunsanya. However, the operator will face competition in the form of MTN Nigeria, which was granted a full Payment Service Bank licence at the same time as Airtel and initially declared its goal to launch mobile money services before Q3 2022.
MTN Nigeria has in fact launched its financial services subsidiary and platform MoMo Payment Bank Service (MoMo PSB) today (May 19), following a successful pilot three days ago.
"This is an important milestone for MTN Nigeria in our mission to support the government's drive towards financial inclusion in Nigeria," said MTN Nigeria CEO Karl Toriola.
Mobile money and digital banking services have revolutionised the markets of many African countries, but despite their huge potential in Nigeria operators have been slow to drive their adoption, leaving traditional banks to push the model.