NIGERIA’S NEW CASHLESS POLICY: AN UNDERSTANDING OF PAYMENT ALTERNATIVES AVAILABLE TO YOU
The central bank of Nigeria, CBN just recently introduced the cashless policy, which has been on the news a lot. It is a policy designed to reduce the rate of physical cash flow in the country’s economy with e-payment solutions.
The main essence of the cashless policy is aimed at establishing bank deposit/withdrawal limits above which account holders spend very high transfer expenses on. News outlets, and journals have been more on focused announcing the policy, and writing/talking about the difficulties the policy presents. Only a few have directed their focus and time on the payment and transfer options open to you, should you want to make transfers over the daily limits without paying exorbitant cash transaction charges or should in case you really want to go cashless. The aim of this article is to do just that.
A BRIEF OVERVIEW ON CASHLESS POLICY
Before we go into details on the nitty gritty of bank transactions/payment options, I will be giving a brief summary of cashless policy. In my opinion, CBN has made some unnecessary, and extensive changes to the cashless policy, which has made it somewhat tasteless, the policy acts as an e-payment solution in Nigeria which is a welcome development.
One of the dividends of cashless policy is the daily limits put on bank account withdrawal and deposits. For individual accounts, it is limited to N500,000 daily, while for corporations and organizations, it is N3000,000. Any further transfers above these daily limit will attract charges of up to 3%, from the transacting account. This is very discouraging. You can imagine been charged 3% of N500,000. (Which is a whopping N15,000). This makes no business sense. To simplify these, for every N1,000,000 you withdraw, you will be debited N1,015,000. And for every N1,000,000 you receive, N985,000 will be credited to you.
In order for you to bypass this unreasonable charges, you need to get acquainted with e-payment, and e-banking options. You need to put into consideration the fact that if your client, or anyone else deposits money into your account, you are(account holder) to bear the cost of transfer.
At the moment, cashless policy is available only in Lagos. It will become fully functional in other parts of the country on June 1, 2012.
Having had a brief understanding of what cashless policy is all about, it is time to focus on options open to you, should you wish to go cashless.
Internet banking, popularly called e-banking, proffer you the opportunity to do bank transactions online. Nigerian banks now offer online banking on their platforms. It entails you the opportunity to check account balances, activities/statements, view exchange rates, pay bills ( airtime, electricity,DSTV,etc) and taxes, and most importantly transfer funds between bank accounts. Beefing your online banking security with a token or password, will avail you more online banking opportunities.
Hence, it important you have an online banking token, if you indeed what to take an earnest interest in cashless, and e-banking options. It affords you ease in transactions, and an opportunity to bank and transfer funds way above the daily limits without paying exorbitant cash transaction charges. You could for example pay your house rent to your landlord’s account without the need to visit your bank to do such.
Just take a walk to your bank’s customer care service center, and talk to them about your desire bank online, and you should get details of what you should do. You need to also ask for internet banking token, to afford you smooth banking online. Though It is not free. Diamond bank sells internet banking token for N2000, as at the last time I inquired.
Mobile banking, simply means doing bank transactions with your mobile phone. It is somewhat similar to internet banking, only that you use your mobile phone to transfer and pay bills. And unlike internet banking, mobile banking has restriction to it’s use due to security reasons. There is no token with mobile banking. Mobile banking allows for transfer of funds between banks, payment of bills (airtime, electricity, DSTV, etc), and taxes, and other cashless transaction activities. You could also visit your bank customer care services center for more details on mobile banking.
PAYMENT CARDS AND POS
Both internet and mobile banking are great e-payment options, but the downside to them is that they are both limited in their transactional activities. Hence if you are in search of a better e-payment options, that can do a whole lot more impressive payments, both online and offline. Then you seriously need to consider payment cards, and POS.
Payment cards are cards, that allows you to make payment for goods and services rendered, and does not require the need for physical cash. An example of a payment card is your ATM (debit/credit) cards usually given to you by your bank. We have different kinds of ATM in use in Nigeria, like visa, MasterCard, Interswitch verve, and others. It is also used to pay for goods and services at POS terminals, and affords merchants the opportunity to receive payments via e-payment options like payment cards.
What this implies is that we can Actually do business without cash at virtually anywhere a POS device is supported. It is as simple as giving your card to a cashier or attendant, and with your consent, money is transferred from your account to the purchasing account instantly. It might also interest you to know that most payment cards supports online transactions. Some cards actually allows transactions of up N500,000, that is the standard for daily limits.
As a matter of fact payment cards forms an important part of Nigeria’s cashless policy. If you desire a payment card, visit your bank to get more details on how to get one.
Lately Mobile Money has been essentially an important part of CBN’s cashless policy in the country. The rate at which mobile money has developed in the past five years as been impressive. In mobile money e-wallets are created, allowing for storing of money through your mobile phone, and this money in your phone can be use to purchase goods and services from merchants that supports this mobile money platform.
The reason for this is quiet simple. There are more Nigerians with a mobile phone, than their are with bank accounts. Hence if we can effectively get more people to join the mobile money platform, the Nigerian economy can easily speed up it’s cashless policy initiative. Mobile Money subscription can be done through banks and agent outlets. Right now mobile money is still at most in it’s testy trial stage with no major development in Nigeria. In my view, I do not see any meaningful improvement in the near future, but I might be wrong.
ATM (Automatic teller machine)
In broad view, ATM might not be looked at as a core part of Nigeria’s cashless policy, due in part to it’s ready existence as a means to withdraw money. In the past I had indicated that ATM terminals actually brings about more money in circulation instead of less. But irrespective of that, it is pertinent to know that ATM terminals does more than to dispense money. Most ATM machines, around the country can also be used to purchase airtime, pay bills and transfer funds between banks. So when next you visit one, try to find out all it’s features and uses, apart from withdrawing cash. You also need an ATM card for you to utilize an ATM machine. Visit your bank to get details on this.
In conclusion, the CBN cashless policy is a necessary and vital tool in battling corruption, wastage, and money laundering. It also importantly provides employment opportunities.