Stakeholders at the ongoing Card, ATM and Mobile Expo, which opened in Lagos on Tuesday, have raised concern over the slow adoption of the mobile money payment system in the country.
Mobile money is supposed to be a strong driver for cashless initiative.
Experts in the financial sector that gathered for the exhibition and conference, organised by Intermarc Consulting, were worried that little attention is being given to mobile payment system in the country. They insist that the system will drive cashless initiative and afford Nigerians the ease and comfort in using mobile phone technology in all financial transactions, including payment of utility bills.
To this end, they called on Nigerians to adopt mobile money as fast as possible, while asking government to create more awareness campaign on the benefits of mobile money.
Attributing the slow adoption rate to lack of trust for mobile money in the country because of its relatively new technology in Nigeria, the Chief Executive Officer of eTranzact online payment platform, Mr. Valentine Obi said there was need for Nigerians to heartily welcome mobile money, despite its late launch into the Nigerian market.
According to him, " mobile money is new in Nigeria but it remained the best platform to drive the cashless policy initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Mobile payment is part of the cashless initiative, but we have few merchants nationwide and operators are still training to build a wide network of merchants to address the challenges."
He however commended Nigerians for the rate at which they are going cashless in their financial transactions. Nigeria, he said, moved from six billion naira daily transactions in 2003 to over N10 billion in 2009. In 2013, the figure rose to over seven trillion naira online transactions. He predicted that the figure would double before the end of 2014.
He however said the figure will increase if Nigerians embrace the mobile money technology.
"Web is the new offline, while mobile is the new online, and this shows that mobile phones will play important role in the lives of individuals now and in the future," Obi said.
According to him, most Nigerians are not keen at using mobile money for their daily transactions because they will not find merchants that will dispense cash when the need arises.
If the shortfall in mobile money merchants is adequately addressed, Nigerians will live to enjoy the service, because it has proved to be the best form of financial inclusion globally, Obi said during a paper presentation at one of the conference sessions.
Speaking on security challenges associated with other payment channels, Obi said the mobile money comes with less security challenges, as customers could generate their security codes with the mobile phone, instead of carrying multiple tokens from different banks in order to generate security codes when carrying out online financial transactions.
Citing Pocket Money as an established Mobile Money platform in Nigeria, Obi said: "Pocket Money could be used to send money, pay bills and revolutionise the way people live. It works on all platforms and allows different kinds of transactions on all mobile platforms."