Fidelity Bank Goes Live On mCash, Boosts Merchant Business
• System To Drive CBN’s Financial Inclusion Strategy

As part of renewed efforts to further drive the financial inclusion mandates of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Fidelity Bank Plc, one of the country’s most diversified financial institutions has introduced a new solution which will allow it’s over 200 registered merchants to receive low-value retail payments from customers using their phones. Launched in collaboration with the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) and leading telecommunications companies, this electronic payment solution dubbed ‘microCash’ (mCash) rides on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) technology to enable merchants and customers conduct transactions instantaneously.

The new initiative was unveiled in the commercial city of Lagos recently by the lead promoter – NIBSS, with the apex financial institution projecting that mCash would facilitate 80 percent financial inclusion in the country by 2020. In keeping with its promise to make financial services easy and accessible to its teeming customers, the Bank integrated mCash into its Instant Banking service *770#. With this integration, customers can now make payments to merchants registered with any participating financial institution. According to the Bank, this new offering will enables merchants to give their customers at least three (3) payment options; Cash, Cards, Mobile Phones.

The launch of the system, the Bank said is a reflection of its relentless pursuit of efficiency, customer service and innovation. Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos recently, Chief Operations Officer (COO) of Fidelity Bank Plc., Gbolahan Joshua pointed out, “mCash is a new path aimed strategically at offering a digital payment system to Bank customers. The launch of this innovative payment service goes to show the power of collaboration in driving success”. Joshua however expressed confidence that the solution (mCash) will provide immense value to Nigerian customers. Commenting on the service, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NIBSS, Ade Shonubi noted that the initiative is geared towards creating convenient ways of making payments, further adding that a collaboration between the banking and telecommunications industries was necessary to bring this initiative into fruition.

Speaking in the same vein, Seun Omotosho, Head of Mobile Financial Services for Etisalat Nigeria, the nation’s fourth largest Mobile Network Operator (MNO) with over 18 million active subscribers, congratulated NIBSS for the successful launch of the service. “At Etisalat Nigeria, we are excited about this solution and all of us have heard about what is happening in East Africa with MPESA and co and we strongly believe this is going to rival this.

“We are going the direction of payment because we believe payment is what will drive inclusion. This solution is simple and addresses what customers need.” On his part, the Director, Banking and Payment, CBN Mr. Dipo Fatokun, described the solution as another effort by the apex bank to boost financial inclusion and meet its Payment Systems Vision 2020. Fatokun who was represented by a Principal Manager at the CBN, Mr. Joe Ogbogu said: “We endorse this because it would take our payment system to the next level. Nigeria is at the top pendulum of payment system in the whole world. Because of this, various countries come to understudy our payment system and this is one product I hope they would understudy in the near future.

“Another reason for this endorsement is that it is going to drive financial inclusion in Nigeria. We have challenges of acceptance of Point of Service (PoS) transactions because they don’t get instant value for their services some cases the next. With this product, merchants get instant value which is indeed a big plus.”