Thursday, August 22, 2013

59% of Nigerians unaware of mobile money – Report

Almost two years after the Central Bank of Nigeria introduced mobile
money services to drive financial inclusion in the country, anew
survey by NOI Polls has revealed that about 59 per cent of the
populace are unaware that such services exist.
Mobile money enables monetary transactions to be done on mobilephones
through text messaging.
Of the 41 per cent citizens that are knowledgeable about mobile money
services, only 13 per cent have adopted it, indicating a very low
adoption rate, according to the report.
The CBN introduced mobile money services to provide basic financial
services and create payment access, especially to the unbanked, and
also help to drive financial inclusion in the country.
Operations that can be carried out through mobile money include money
deposit, bill payment, funds transfer and withdrawal, and payment for
goods and services. It serves as an alternative way of storing money
for both the banked and the unbanked.
The NOI Polls report showed that teenagers, young and middle-aged
adults were more willing to utilise the services than senior citizens.
The report, which was made available to our correspondent on
Wednesday, stated, "About six in 10 (59 per cent) Nigerians are not
aware of mobile money services and only 13 per cent of the 41 per cent
that are knowledgeable of it have adopted it, showing a very low
adoption rate.
"Findings have also revealed that teenagers, young and middle aged
adults are more willing to adopt the services than senior citizens."
The survey, however, noted that all respondents who used mobile money
services operated a bank account and that 93 per cent of them operated
their mobile money accounts in connection with their bank accounts.
The report further stated, "This shows that mobile money serviceshave
not had any impact on the financial inclusion of the unbanked
Nigerians so far. The general perception of users of themobile money
service as indicated by the majority is that it is easy to use, it is
secure, service providers are easily accessible, it saves cost and it
saves time.
"These are the key findings from the Mobile Money Services Snap Poll
conducted in the week of August 5, 2013."
The scheme has suffered slow adoption by Nigerians as the licensed
operators of mobile money services have not made a significant headway
in the deployment of the services across the states.
Some of the challenges the scheme has faced include low awareness and
adoption; lack of finance and basic infrastructure; very few agents;
and the exclusion of mobile operators from takingpart in the execution
of the services.
According to the survey, majority of the users (86 per cent) indicated
'banks' as their financial service provider.
This, according to the poll, may be due to the fact that licensed
banks have been mostly given the responsibility to establish the
services in Nigeria.
Relatively, 12 per cent indicated 'mobile money agents' as their
provider and one per cent indicated other sources.
The report, however, concluded that mobile money services had great
future adoption potential as 71 per cent of the respondents,who had
yet to adopt it, were willing to give it a try in the future.
The report stated, "However, what is key to note is the almost
non-adoption of this service by the unbanked, this can be detrimental
to the success of the cash-less policy as a large percentage of the
adult population remains unbanked.
"As Nigeria is currently transitioning towards being a cash-less
economy, more awareness has to be created about the mobile money
payment option with emphasis placed on including the rural population
and unbanked Nigerians in the roll out process."

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