The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), The Nigeria Interbank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS) and all Deposit money banks (DMBs) have collaborated to launch the NQR, a Quick Response (QR) Code-driven payment solution to aid financial inclusion in the country.
The solution is an indigenous QR code platform introduced by NIBSS as an alternative to existing payment solutions such as the point of sale (PoS). However, this solution does not come with the cost implications of a PoS machine, but involves contactless payment needed during this pandemic era.
In addition, the solution would provide a “touch-free option of receiving and making payments for goods and services by simply scanning to pay.
Speaking at the virtual launch, the Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, CBN, Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, stated that introducing the product was timely, adding that it would continue to put Nigeria’s payment system on the global map.
Ahmad said the Nigerian payment system has evolved significantly over the past decade with widespread technological advancement supported by deliberate enabling regulation which has facilitated the growth and proliferation of innovative financial products, services and channels.
“Indeed, Nigeria has leapfrogged a number of advanced economies in the area of financial innovation.”
Covid-19 pandemic has also accentuated the situation with more opportunities for financial institutions and other players within the payment ecosystem to innovate and provide more options for payments and settlements. Globally, there has been a major shift from contact to contactless options with a number of countries like China, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Singapore, Ghana and Nigeria pioneering groundbreaking solutions in this regard.
She added that: “The CBN in response to these market developments released the response to development released the framework for QR code payments for Nigeria in January 2021, as part of efforts to further deepen the adoption of electronic payments in the country.”
“The framework stipulates acceptable standards for implementation and interoperability roles and responsibility of participants for QR code schemes in the Nigerian system amongst others. The NQR payment solution coming soon after the QR code framework would bridge an urgent gap within Nigeria’s fast evolving payment landscape.
“It would unify QR code schemes across the country, offer a robust payment platform that delivers instant value from p2b and B2B transactions and a more improved customer experience. The scheme would also allow a more convenient and integrated process leveraging Application Programming Interface (API).”
She further said this would reduce the cost of financial services, deepen financial inclusion and grow economic and business activities to increase payment activities and merchant outlets.
The CBN as the regulator of the banking and payment system is committed to providing an enabling regulatory environment that ensures interoperability, proper market conduct and continued innovation within the financial services ecosystem to foster healthy competition, high quality services and financial inclusion.
Also speaking on the collaboration, the Managing director NIBBS Mr. Premier Oiwoh said: “The financial service industry in Nigeria has grown immensely and the trajectory over the years has been tremendous but it is time to do more as our industry does not respect foundation but it only respects innovation.”
“This is a critical time that calls for transformation by innovation. And as we position ourselves ahead of the curve, our job is to ensure that the industry thrives and stays innovative is the most reliable vehicle to ensure this.”