The latest figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicate that Nigerians are increasingly leveraging electronic payment platforms for their daily transactions.
Total volume of e-payment transactions grew to 238.8 million worth N18.2 trillion in the third quarter, from 202 million in second quarter of 2016, a quarterly increase of 18.2%.
Instant Payments (NIP) accounted for the largest share of e-payment transactions in the quarter, with 52.82 percent. Slower Nigeria Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) followed this closely at 30.07 percent, while checks and ATM transactions also grew at 7.79 percent and 6.89 percent respectively.
“This is what we have been expecting and I hope we continue to see more of this,” Niyi Yusuf, country-managing director of Accenture told BusinessDay.
According to Yusuf, the growth is happening because e-payment is effectively being integrated into retail business.
“This is more retail payment transactions and that is what is driving this growth that we have seen. I think the second thing that is driving it is the collaboration in the industry, especially between telecom firms and the banks.
“You have banks now coming up with products that use short codes to do transfer. So that convergence between telecom and banking is making it easier for the 142 million phone subscribers to do their financial transactions online” Yusuf said.
Details of the report further showed that volume of ATM transactions in Nigeria rose 15.2% to 157.1 million in the third quarter of 2016 from 136.3 million in the second quarter of 2016 while value rose to N1.2 trillion from N1.1 trillion in the same period.
Also, the volume of POS transactions in Nigeria rose to 16.0 million from 13.5 million, while value of the transactions was up N180 billion from N160 billion.
Mobile payments also rose to 10.8 million from 8.6 million, while value rose to N220 billion from N160 billion within the period.
The volume of Internet based transactions is also on the rise. Volume of Internet transactions rose to 3.5 million from 2.6 million while value rose to N30 billion from N26 billion.
Growth in cheque transactions was lowest rising to 3.0 million from 2.8 million but value declined to N1.41 trillion from N1.44 trillion.
The growth also throws up the concerns about cyber security and possible breaches. Olabode Olaoke, Senior Manager, Risk Assurance Services, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) told BusinessDay, that “the more numbers you have, the more you have to protect.
“If you look at the information, I think there is a trend you can see and it is around the growth of transaction across the different channels. Basically, the primary users focused electronic channels – POS, Internet and mobile payments. If you look at internet payments in September 2016 it is about N10 billion and compare that to the same period in 2015 it is about N9 bllion. This shows you that we are having significant steady increase in use of these channels. The question is how secure are these channels?
“What it also means is that it will be a more interesting source for cyber hacking because they want to follow the numbers to see what is happening on the internet and go exactly where the money is.
“It does not mean people are more trusting of those channels and if people are not more trusting of those channels, it means they are likely to be less conscious of the channels.
“It could also mean the ease of use could be considerably more, or that electronic channels have increased their number over the years or their reliability or in their ability to actually deliver service, so what we would increasingly see is how people will target those payment channels.
“Platforms like Konga, Jumia among others will typically be targeted. Payment processors like Interswitch, NIP, NEFT and more that are providing services, the cyber criminals are trying to see how they can intercept them because what you find is that hard data is passing through those channels.
“There needs to be some more concern around security and it has to be sustained and the only way to sustain it is to make sure that it continues to be secure,” Olaoke said.