Getting the economy to go cashless has being a recurring theme for the leaders of Nigeria for quite some time now. The introduction of mCash a few days ago proves a couple of things.
One, is the fact that the country would increasingly depend on various types of technological driven initiatives to achieve that cashless economy.
Again, another mobile payment solution after the introduction of Internet banking, ATMs and POS show the government recognize their is still a lot of raw cash being used in transactions daily.
And it is that cash that mCash is determined to eliminate from the system.
What is mCash?
mCash is short for microCash. Which doesn’t tell you much until what it actually does is described to you.
mCash aims to further expand the boundaries of payment for commercial activities without the use of physical cash. In this case, the mobile phone, which is used by practically everybody in the country would be the means of payment.
An initiative of of the Nigeria Interbank Settlement Scheme (NIBSS), the Central Bank in collaboration with all deposits Banks Nigeria and telecoms company, it aims to take the number of Nigerians plugged into the financial system to over 80% in four years time.
That is, if everything goes according to plan, 80% person of Nigerians would be transacting commercial business, no matter how small, through official channels.
Speaking at the launch of mCash, the Managing Director of mCash, Ade Shonubi said that:
“It leverages the NIBSS Instant Payments infrastructure (NIP) for immediate fund delivery to merchants’ accounts and mobile telephone Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) technology.”
How does mCash work?
The program would use the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) code to send money to merchants account. Using USSD is brilliant as it makes the whole transaction easier to accomplish on a mobile phone. It would be just like loading airtime with a credit voucher.
All businesses (sellers of products and services) who register with the program at their banks would be given an eight digit code that is unique to them.
To make payment for services rendered or products bought, all a customer needs to do is ask for the sellers eight digit code. Transferring money to the sellers account would follow this scheme:
*402* unique merchants 8 digit code*Amount to be transferred# and hit the send button.
In reply the name of the business owner would appear on the screen of the mobile phone.
This is like a security option to make sure one is not about to send money to the wrong merchant.
Also the customer would have the option of chosing the bank from which they wish to transfer money to the merchant.
A final security check is the passcode the customer would need to input to complete the transaction. When that is done, both the customer and merchant would receive alerts on their devices.
For the customer it is an alert showing the money transferred. While the Merchant would receive a credit alert of the same amount.
Transactions of N10,000 and below attract a service charge of N10, while for all transactions above that, there is a N50 service charge from both customer and business.
There is one caveat though, the number being used to transfer the money must be linked to a bank account with a valid BVN number.
Though all banks in Nigeria have registered to be part of the program, only six banks in the country have rolled out the service for their customers.
These banks are First City Monument Bank, Zenith Bank, Diamond Bank, Union Bank, Fidelity Bank, and Sterling Bank.
Barring any last minute glitches, the services should become fully operational in these banks by the beginning of next week. The other banks in the country are expected to join the mCash train very soon.
So what do you think of this new development? Do you think the transaction fee is a bit steep? Let’s hear what you think in the comment section below.
image credit: blog.sendtree.com; guardian.ng; nibbs-plc.com.ng