Airtel Targets 36.8% Unbanked Nigerians With SmartCash

July 1, 2022
SmartCash 36.8% unbanked Nigerians

By Adedapo Adesanya

The number of unbanked Nigerians may soon go down with the launch of SmartCash Payment Service Bank by Airtel Africa Plc in Lagos on Thursday.

According to reports, about 36.8 per cent of Nigerians who are adults do not have access to financial services. Nigeria boasts more than 200 million people. But with the introduction of SmartCash by Airtel, this is expected to reduce in the coming months and years.

At the unveiling of the product yesterday, the telecommunications firm said its financial services subsidiary will provide secure and reliable financial services across Nigeria.

Recall that in April 2022, Airtel Africa announced that it has been granted a license by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to operate a payment service bank in the country.

With the official rollout, SmartCash targets reaching the 36.8 per cent unbanked adult population in Nigeria as the new PSB will accept deposits from individuals and small businesses, carry out payment and remittance services within Nigeria, and issue debit and prepaid cards among other banking services.

SmartCash will also enable person-to-person payment and transfers from across the world, though the service is currently available at selected retail touchpoints across the country.

Airtel also announced that plans are underway to expand the innovative, technology-driven services to all parts of the country, including the furthest and most remote, in an effort to accelerate financial inclusion for all Nigerians.

“The launch of SmartCash Payment Service Bank gives us fresh impetus at Airtel Africa, to continue growing our footprint in the continent and delivering innovative solutions. In the bank, we have the best of both worlds – a hybrid of commercial bank and mobile financial services – offering last-mile connection to the financially excluded.

“Through it, we want to contribute towards driving financial inclusion in Nigeria, to empower Nigerians while transforming the payment landscape in Nigeria and the rest of Africa,” the group chief executive officer of Airtel Africa, Mr Segun Ogunsanya, said at the event on Thursday.

On his part, the MD/CEO of SmartCash PSB, Mr Muyiwa Ebitanmi, said: “Through SmartCash Payment Services Bank, we aim to bridge the financial divide by providing rural and urban Nigerians access to innovative, highly secured and reliable banking services that are powered by technology and are relevant to their needs.”

Airtel Africa is a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services with a presence in 14 countries across Africa. The telco has the third-largest market share in terms of customers in Nigeria.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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