Despite efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other financial services institutions to promote financial inclusion in the country, a new survey by NOI Polls Limited shows that about six in 10 Nigerians (59 percent) are oblivious of mobile money services, and only 13 percent of those knowledgeable (41 percent) currently use it.
“This shows that mobile money services have not had any impact on the financial inclusion of the unbanked Nigerians so far,” NOI poll revealed.
NOI research indicated that teenagers, young and middle aged adults are more willing to adopt the services than senior citizens.
The survey, which sought to determine the ratio of mobile money users with bank accounts to those without stated that, majority (93 percent) of those that used the service operated their mobile money account in connection with their bank accounts.
All the mobile money service users (13 percent) were all banked showing little or no adoption of this service by the unbanked.
NOI attributed the slow pace of adopting the mobile money services in Nigeria to low public awareness on the payment transfer system. Other challenges include lack of finance and basic infrastructure; very few agents; and the exclusion of mobile operators from taking part in the execution of the services.
Mobile money services were introduced by the CBN about two years ago.
With mobile money services, individual can make money deposits, pay bills, transfer funds and pay for goods and services purchased. It reduces the risk of theft and loss of money as it does not involve the handling of cash as monetary transactions are done on mobile phones through text messaging.
If fully explored, mobile money is a real tool for economic growth and development.