Saturday, January 22, 2011

The mobile banking revolution: Nigerian style

Monitise was the first to announce to the world that they have received a provisional license from the Nigerian Central Bank. With a slick British PR company behind them, this was too big an opportunity not to make some noise about. (Read here). Being a listed company, the press release was factually very accurate.

Soon, many press releases followed. The one trying to out-do the other in terms of the scope of services and the impact that it would have on Nigerian community. (Read here and here). While it was clear that a number of licenses have been approved by CBN, no official announcement could be found. The CBN website remained non-committed in terms of who received a license and under what terms. It was not clear what was in the public domain and what could be reported on.

This is such big news and the different parties that have received the green light will potentially have such a big impact in the mobile payment industry that I belive it important that this information be avialable to the general public. Based on a number of sources and informal discussions that I have had, it seems that the following entities received provisional licenses:
Bank Focused
Stanbic IBTC
Ecobank
Fortis MFB
Bank-led
UBA/Afripay
GT Bank/MTN
First Bank of Nigeria (I do not know who will be in this consortium)
Non-bank led
Pagatech
Paycom
M-Kudi
Chams
Eartholeum
E-Tranzact
Parkway
Monitiz (Is this the Monitise brand in Nigeria)
FET
Corporeti

I am not sure if this is a complete list (or even accurate). I would appreciate any comments to guide me on getting the comprehensive (and official) list. Assuming that this list is accurate, a few observations:
  • It is surprising that Zain (now Airtel) did not receive the go-ahead. Or at least this is not clear. They have made such progress in Africa that it must be devastating to them not to have a license in their biggest African network.
  • Quite a few larger banks (Zenith, Oceanic etc.) did not receive licenses. Did they not apply, or are they part of other consortia?
  • What happens to existing players like Moneybox and FlashmeCash?
One should also note that the licenses are provisional and that a number of milestones must be achieved in order to be able to proceed with offering a service.

4 comments:

Bash said...

Great post! Awesome info. What exactly do these licences enable the companies to do? What is the end game?

Anonymous said...

Mobile banking is different from mobile money.

The main differences is the agency model used by mobile money and its ability to be used as a replacement for cash.

Flash-Me-Cash is Mobile Banking.

Anonymous said...

FlashMeCash is certainly mobile banking as opposed to mobile currency; even at that it's tedious to use and implement which I believe is the reason for their not so wide adoption.

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