Mobile Money in Nigeria: Operators, Opportunities and Trends

Recently I started seeing a spike in the number of inquiries made by friends, fintechs, and random other people about Mobile Money in Nigeria. And it’s not because they are suddenly having altruistic ideas for financial inclusion. Something must be cooking!

Let’s get the basics right

Mobile money is a form of banking where your account number is your mobile number. It’s as simple as that. Any other definition is an oversabi.

After the successful debut of mPesa in Kenya, many countries tried to launch their copycat mobile money system.

Unfortunately, it has been a mostly miserable failure. Some stats said less than 3% of all mobile money implementation has been successful. In Nigeria, the number is worse: 0%.

At the start of the mobile money madness, CBN gave out 23 licenses, 10 of which were by banks.

After a flurry of activities, things chilled. Banks subsequently developed acute amnesia about their licenses went back to their bread and butter: Commercial Banking.

Why and how mobile money failed will always be contentious. I have written about it, others have different opinions. The one thing we ain’t arguing about though is the fact that mobile money failed to hit the sweet spot.

New interests in Mobile Money

The emergence of fintechs has thrown open new possibilities of what can be done with moribund mobile money licenses. Most fintechs within the payment space are having a lorry load of challenges connecting to banks.

For example, a common request would be funding of payment transactions from bank accounts for which banks haven’t provided any simple APIs to work with. Those doing savings and personal financial management want to keep money in a legal way and also allow topping off investments from bank accounts. That itself is another problem.

Just like the way banks repurposed USSD codes meant for mobile money in 2014, fintechs are circling around banks to see how mobile money can be repurposed for better things.

 

Now, the list

Getting the actual list of licensed mobile money operators in Nigeria should be simple, right? Nope! You can’t even find it on CBN website if you search for it but here’s the direct link.

So, I put together the list of those I know to aid anyone.

OperatorOwnerWebsite
*909# Mobile MoneyStanbic IBTC Plchttp://www.stanbicibtc.com/
Access mobile moneyAccess Bank Plchttps://www.accessbankplc.com/
TinggCellulant Limitedhttps://tingg.com.ng/
Diamond mobileDiamond Bank Plchttp://www.diamondbank.com/
EazyMoneyZenith Bankhttp://www.eazymoney.com.ng
Ecobank Mobile MoneyEcobankhttps://ecobank.com/
FETSFunds and Electronics Transfer Solution Limitedhttp://www.mywallet.fets.com.ng
Fidelity Mobile MoneyFidelity Bank Plchttps://www.fidelitybank.ng
FirstMonieFirst Bank Nigeria Plchttp://www.firstbankplc.com/
Fortis Mobile MoneyFortis MFBhttp://www.fortismobilemoney.com/
GTMobileMoneyGTBank Plchttps://www.gtbank.com/
Mimo
*Part of Vanso. Bought over by Interswitch in 2016
Interswitch Limited (formerly mKudi, a subsidiary of Vanso)https://www.mimo.com.ng/
Monitize
*Not operational. Site redirects to Fiserv
Monitizehttp://monitise.com/nigeria
NowNowContec Global Infotech Limitedhttp://nownow.ng/
PagaPagaTech Limitedhttp://www.pagatech.com/
PayAttitudeUnified Payments Services Limitedhttps://payattitude.com/
PIDO
*Bought by Opera from Telnet in 2017
Opera Softwarehttp://www.paycom-ng.com/
PocketMonieTranzact Plchttp://www.pocketmoni.com/
QikQik
*Inactive
Eartholeum Networks Limitedhttp://www.eartholeum.com
ReadyCashParkway Projects Limitedhttp://www.readycash.com.ng/
Sterling mobile moneySterling Bank Plchttps://www.sterlingbankng.com/
Teasy MobileTeasy Mobile Limitedhttp://teasymobile.com
U-Mo
*Shut down. License allegedly returned to CBN
Afripay Limited/United Bank for Africa Plchttp://www.umo.net/
Virtual Terminal NetworkVTNetwork Limitedhttps://www.virtualterminalnetwork.com/
Wari
*Senegalese company. Acquired license in 2016
Warihttps://www.wari.com/
Zoto
*Zoto app shut down
Hedonmarks Management Serviceshttps://zoto.com.ng

 

Other documents

The following are also critical documents for mobile money in Nigeria, especially from the regulatory perspective:

Comments 2

  1. james wrote:

    This is good, Thanks for the research and hard work good job thanks for sharing again !!!

    Posted 11 Oct 2018 at 12:29 pm
  2. Kayode wrote:

    I think Nigerian terms such as “Oversabi” should be explained at the footer

    Posted 14 Oct 2018 at 1:05 am

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