The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele on Thursday declared that going forward, dollar charges on all domestic cards and online transactions would not be permitted.
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Emefiele said all transactions on existing local bank cards must, therefore, be routed through the Nigerian National Domestic Card scheme which he officially unveiled on Thursday.
Speaking at the virtual launch of the card scheme, the CBN governor pointed out that at a time when foreign exchange challenges have persisted globally, the central bank came up with the domestic card scheme to, “ensure that all card transactions, online transactions where you’re using cards will now effective immediately, begin to go on the Nigerian National Domestic Card system.”
Emefiele, however, clarified that though there was nothing wrong with existing local bank cards, customers are at liberty to continue using them.
He said, “But given that charges by foreign cards are in dollars, we will no longer pay dollars for charges on those cards.”
He said: “All domestic card transactions that are going to be conducted in Nigeria will have to be through the Nigerian domestic card.
“We would only pay dollars for charges on transactions that are done with this domestic card or foreign cards outside Nigeria.”
He, however, clarified that the CBN’s effort was not to prevent international service providers from continuing to provide services in Nigeria.
He said, “Rather, it is aimed at providing more options for domestic consumers while also promoting the delivery of services in a more innovative, cost-effective, and competitive manner.”
Emefiele also disclosed that the CBN would collaborate with the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Nigerian banks, and other electronic payment operators to see, “how to segregate those transactions to ensure that we would only make charges or fees for international transactions that are conducted on these cards or the Visa or MasterCard as they are used today.”
The CBN governor insisted that while there was no preference for any particular domestic card, “we don’t need to have our domestic cards but most importantly is that we do not have foreign exchange, and we would bar payment of charges for domestic transactions from the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market at some point in the very near future.”
He said given the limited usage of cards by Nigerians and in a bid to deepen penetration, the central bank actively promoted the national domestic card scheme which would be accessible to all Nigerians and also address local peculiarities.