According to a report by the Vanguard, Nigerian bank customers paid N138 billion ($437 million) in electronic payment charges to the top 10 banks in the country last year. The fee represents an eye-opening 26% increase on the N109.1 billion paid by customers in 2015.
According to Nigerian Communication Week, organized labour has expressed outrage at the reported figures. They believe that the e-transaction charges are not only exorbitant, but amount to corporate extortion. This has led to calls for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and other regulatory agencies in the financial sector to intervene before the situation boils over.
The charges, as stipulated in the Guide to Bank Charges of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) include: ATM card issuance, replacement and renewal charges; Hardware token and soft token issuance charges; ATM withdrawal charges; Funds transfer charges; bulk payments such as salaries; and SMS alerts.
Commenting on this development, President, Bank Customers Association of Nigeria (BCAN), Mr. Oju Ogubunka said that: “The hiked cost will impact negatively on wider adoption of e-payments in the country. Banks, at the detriment of consumers, will further enrich themselves. Non e-payment channels that are cheaper are likely to witness higher patronage with some obvious implications.”
The 10 banks involved in the report are Access Bank, Diamond Bank, FCMB, FBN Holdings, Fidelity Bank, GTBank, Stanbic IBTC, UBA, Union Bank and Zenith Bank.
The banking industry in Nigeria enjoyed a boom in e-payment business in 2016. Statistics from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) showed that Nigeria has seen a rise in this area, as the volume and value of e-payment transactions rose by 132 per cent and 82 per cent respectively, to 942 million transactions worth N71 trillion.
Analysis of the 2016 financial statements of the 10 banks involved shows that e-payment income accounted for 30 per cent of their total income from fees and commission in 2016.