Telecom giants MTN, Airtel eye mobile banking licence

Telecommunication giants, MTN and Airtel have concluded plans to obtain mobile banking licence from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as they prepare to enter the financial services sector with a bang.

The companies are also believed to have formed subsidiaries that will handle the operation of their mobile banking licence.

With the mobile banking licence, the telcos would be able to offer customers more financial services on their phones, including paying for goods and services, and withdrawing money from recognised payment service agents on the roadside.

However, going by CBN’s guidelines, they are not allowed to collect deposits or give out loans, though it is expected that they may partnership with banks to be able to offer more services in the financial sector.

The Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya, confirmed his company’s move for mobile banking license to BusinessDay, saying that Airtel “already has a name for its subsidiary company that will operate as a payment service bank to carry out basic mobile money services such as funds transfer and payments.”

Also, Rob Shutter, MTN Group CEO, also told Reuters, Tuesday, that the group ‘‘will apply for a mobile banking licence in Nigeria and plans to launch the service next year.”

He said further: “We will be applying for a payment service banking licence in Nigeria in the next month or so, and if all goes according to plan, we will also be launching Mobile Money in Nigeria probably around Q2 of 2019,”

It would be recalled that the CBN, on November 2, 2018, published the draft policy guideline, for payment service banking by non-banks in order to help drive the country’s national financial inclusion strategy goal of 80 percent inclusion by 2020.

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