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Monday, 22 September 2014
Nigeria: CBN sets June 2015 deadline for uniform account numbers
•Approves reward scheme cash-less stakeholders
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has set June 2015 as deadline for bank customers to enrol on the Bank Verification Number (BVN) platform.
The BVN enrolment, which involves capturing customers’ physiological or behavioural attributes – fingerprint, signature, among others, is ongoing in some banks’ headquarters in Lagos.
The exercise is a continuation of the $50 million biometric project involving the CBN, the Bankers’ Committee, Dermalog and Charms Plc, meant to assign a unique number to every bank customer for enhanced security of transactions.
CBN Director of Banking & Payments Unit, Dipo Fatokun, said in a statement at the weekend that all bank customers should have their BVN on or before the deadline documentation to be complete.
He said by March, money transfers, loans, contingencies, among others, valued at N100 million and above, would only be allowed for customers with BVN.
Fatokun directed lenders to sensitise their customers on the policy and submit details of compliance to the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS).
The NIBSS will, from October 1, render consolidated returns on the policy to the CBN on a weekly basis, while the latter monitors compliance and sanctions defaulting banks.
To promote the cash-less policy, the CBN management at the weekend also approved an industry-wide incentive scheme and awareness campaign for cardholders, merchants and salespersons.
Fatokun said the Electronic Payment Incentive Scheme (EPIS) would drive increased usage of electronic payments facilities. He said the incentive scheme, which rewards and appreciate usage across channels, would further encourage greater adoption of the cash-less policy.
According to him, the policy was designed as a ‘white-label’ campaign in which stakeholders were required to partner and focus on the channels of electronic payments, which promote financial inclusion.
Part of the incentive, Fatokun said, included reduction in the Merchant Service Charge (MSC) from 1.25 per cent or N2,000 to 0.75 per cent or a maximum of N1,200 per transaction. The sharing ratio among the participants will be retained, while the implementation date is November 1.
The CBN also approved effective November 1, a free Commission on Turnover (COT) for merchants. Hence, all electronic inflows into the accounts of merchants will be exempted from the calculation of COT at the end of each month.
The NIBSS will, from November 1, reward merchants through a mystery shopper and recognition campaign. The agency is to collaborate with banks for the implementation of the Point of Sale (POS) functionalities permitting merchants to offer cash-out services to customers.
Stakeholders will effective, December 1, reward cardholders based on the points grossed through frequency of card usage.
The CBN director of Banking & Payments Unit said the reward scheme would be implemented by NIBSS in conjunction with other service providers, even as the ongoing cash refund scheme based on card usage would continue.
He said merchants could also leverage on the incentive scheme to offer promotional gift items to their customers, based on the usage of electronic payment, adding that salespersons would be encouraged to support electronic payments by having them enrolled on the tipping point schemes, through which they would earn points accrued over a period. Such points, Fatokun said, might be redeemed by the salespersons through gift items or cash.