Mobile Money in Nigeria: Operators, Opportunities and Trends by Deji Olowe [OPEN]

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Recently I started seeing a spike in the number of inquiries made by friends, fintechs, and random other people about Mobile Money in Nigeria. And it’s not because they are suddenly having altruistic ideas for financial inclusion. Something must be cooking!

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Let’s get the basics right

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Mobile money is a form of banking where your account number is your mobile number. It’s as simple as that. Any other definition is an oversabi.

After the successful debut of mPesa in Kenya, many countries tried to launch their copycat mobile money system.

Unfortunately, it has been a mostly miserable failure. Some stats said less than 3% of all mobile money implementation has been successful. In Nigeria, the number is worse: 0%.

At the start of the mobile money madness, CBN gave out 23 licenses, 10 of which were by banks.

After a flurry of activities, things chilled. Banks subsequently developed acute amnesia about their licenses went back to their bread and butter: Commercial Banking.

Why and how mobile money failed will always be contentious. I have written about itothers have different opinions. The one thing we ain’t arguing about though is the fact that mobile money failed to hit the sweet spot.

New interests in Mobile Money

The emergence of fintechs has thrown open new possibilities of what can be done with moribund mobile money licenses. Most fintechs within the payment space are having a lorry load of challenges connecting to banks.

For example, a common request would be funding of payment transactions from bank accounts for which banks haven’t provided any simple APIs to work with. Those doing savings and personal financial management want to keep money in a legal way and also allow topping off investments from bank accounts. That itself is another problem.

Just like the way banks repurposed USSD codes meant for mobile money in 2014, fintechs are circling around banks to see how mobile money can be repurposed for better things.

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Now, the list

Getting the actual list of licensed mobile money operators in Nigeria should be simple, right? Nope! You can’t even find it on CBN website (well, I couldn’t). So, I put together the list of those I know to aid anyone.

Operator Owner Website
*909# Mobile Money Stanbic IBTC Plc http://www.stanbicibtc.com/
Access mobile money Access Bank Plc https://www.accessbankplc.com/
Tingg Cellulant Limited https://tingg.com.ng/
Diamond mobile Diamond Bank Plc http://www.diamondbank.com/
EazyMoney Zenith Bank http://www.eazymoney.com.ng
Ecobank Mobile Money Ecobank https://ecobank.com/
FETS FETS http://www.mywallet.fets.com.ng
Fidelity Mobile Money Fidelity Bank Plc https://www.fidelitybank.ng
FirstMonie First Bank Nigeria Plc http://www.firstbankplc.com/
Fortis Mobile Money Fortis MFB http://www.fortismobilemoney.com/
GTMobileMoney GTBank Plc https://www.gtbank.com/
Mimo
*Part of Vanso. Bought over by Interswitch in 2016/td>
Interswitch Limited https://www.mimo.com.ng/
Monitize
*Not operational. Site redirects to Fiserv
Monitize http://monitise.com/nigeria
Paga PagaTech Limited http://www.pagatech.com/
PayAttitude Unified Payments Services Limited https://payattitude.com/
PIDO
*Bought by Opera from Telnet in 2017
Opera Software http://www.paycom-ng.com/
PocketMoni eTranzact Plc http://www.pocketmoni.com/
QikQik
*Inactive
Eartholeum http://www.eartholeum.com
ReadyCash Parkway Projects Limited http://www.readycash.com.ng/
Sterling mobile money Sterling Bank Plc https://www.sterlingbankng.com/
Teasy Mobile Teasy Mobile Limited http://teasymobile.com
U-Mo
*Shut down. License allegedly returned to CBN
Afripay Limited/United Bank for Africa Plc http://www.umo.net/
Virtual Terminal Network VTNetwork Limited https://www.virtualterminalnetwork.com/
Wari
*Senegalese company. Acquired license in 2016
Wari https://www.wari.com/
Zoto
*Zoto app shut down
Hedonmarks Management Services https://zoto.com.ng

Other documents

The following are also critical documents for mobile money in Nigeria, especially from the regulatory perspective:

This story was originally published on Deji Olowe’s blog

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