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Nigeria slashes eNaira’s merchant service charge by 50% to spur adoption

It’s been almost a year since Nigeria launched the eNaira, but the digital currency only recently hit $10 million in value transacted. The country’s central bank is seeking to change this and boost uptake, starting by slashing the merchant service charge by 50%.

Speaking in a recent event meant to onboard more merchants, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Kingsley Obiora, revealed the new measures geared towards onboarding more users on the eNaira wallet. The wallet has only been downloaded 840,000 times (only a quarter of them are active) since its launch, and this is not near good enough in a country with 206 million people.

The deputy governor called on all merchants to leverage the opportunities availed by the eNaira to improve their cash management and cut their operations costs.

“More specifically, benefits to the merchants include reduced cash handling costs, elimination of failed transactions, instant settlement, increased speed of transactions, improvement in records keeping and elimination of challenges associated with giving change to customers, amongst others,” he told the attendees.

CBN has been working to increase the opportunities that the eNaira offers its users, the official added. This includes integrating many popular payment and e-commerce platforms to give users more choices. Other innovative services are in the pipeline, with CBN currently collaborating with dozens of financial institutions and fintech that are already leveraging the eNaira technology.

“Also, the implementation of cross-border transactions in phase 3 of the eNaira project is expected to increase cross-border trade by about 30%. Furthermore, the lower transaction cost is expected to increase the usage (transaction volume and value) of eNaira and improve income generation by businesses,” Obiora said.

In recent months, the focus has been on expanding the user base of eNaira, including by supporting QR codes, near-field technology, and USSD payments. Nigerians can also use a USSD code to open a new eNaira wallet without holding a bank account.

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