With the launch of the USSD channel for the naira, Nigeria’s Central Bank digital currency (CBDC) has been made available to users of feature phones.
The channel would allow users to deposit and withdraw money from the eNaira platform using USSD, an innovation that the scheme’s proponent claimed would hasten acceptance.
Bayo Akintoye, the chief executive officer of Bullnet, the organization that created the entire upgraded service, predicted that the innovation will bring millions of Nigerians who are now unbanked into the financial system.
According to him, the service would allow customers to withdraw money from an ATM without using their account debit cards, which will modify the way implementation is done.
“The CBN has collaborated with ChamsMobile Ltd to address challenges faced primarily by the unbanked, the underserved, and those on the other side of the digital divide by developing the service known as eNaira enhanced services, where the eNaira USSD channel *997*50# can be used to conduct all banking transactions,” said Akintoye. A loaded bank account utilizing bank cards via the offered online site, electronic payments with any authorized agents, or cash purchases of vouchers like GSM recharge cards can all be used to finance this wallet directly through the platform.
Users can also send eNaira from one wallet to another by just entering the phone number of the recipient. Also, this service enables users to withdraw cash without a bank account or credit card by sending eNaira directly from their wallets to an ATM.
He pointed out that the nation’s network of banking representatives will transform into eNaira extension agents who would be making money by profitably selling clients vouchers and onboarding new members.
In addition to instructing users on how to effectively use eNaira for transactions, he claims that the extension workers will also be educating the general public on the idea and advantages of the CBDC.
In the event that consumers are unable to purchase their own phones, the eNaira extension staff can help them run the wallet even on their phones by purchasing and registering SIM cards. These can assist them in maintaining physical ledgers for eNaira transactions in locations without mobile services or networks, the speaker stated.
The invention, which has won the support of MTN and 9mobile, would enable Nigerians living abroad to buy vouchers to load their wallets and send money back home, continued Akintoye.
Rakiya Mohammed, the director of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) information technology department, praised Bullnet for developing a local invention and emphasized that eNaira was introduced to assist the conventional banking environment.
“The eNaira, which was released two years ago on October 25, 2021, was introduced to support what we already have there, not to replace your regular banking or financial ecosystem.
The director, who was represented by Otaru Abdulkadir, stated, “So, for your electronic payments and cash transactions, the eNaira simply came in to create an environment that is more efficient and resilient when you are doing transactions.”