In October 2022, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced that it had plans to launch a domestic card scheme in the first month of 2023.
Nigeria’s payments industry has grown in leaps and bounds and the CBN sees the Afrigo project as a means to drive financial inclusion and boost data sovereignty in the country while reducing the operating costs of payment cards in the country.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, alongside the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Systems (NIBSS) launched the Afrigo card scheme at a virtual launch ceremony where he said that all online card transactions will now be conducted on the national card scheme.
Godwin Emefiele has this to say as well
“At this time when foreign exchange challenges persist globally, it is important for me to say that we have come up with this card to ensure that all card online transactions will now, effective immediately, begin to go on the Nigerian National Domestic System.”
In essence, all online card transactions in the country would be done using Nigerian Domestic Cards. So all local transaction fees on all cards would now be paid in naira, except for international transactions.
Using VISA and Mastercard meant that both local and international transaction fees were paid in dollars.
The CBN will come up with a deadline in the coming days.
This new card scheme from the CBN means competition for existing players in the space, like Mastercard and VISA.
This new development also means that CBN would cease paying dollars for charges on transactions within Nigeria.
And commercial banks in Nigeria may be forced to discontinue using cards provided by the current players (Mastercard & Visa) for local transactions after the card scheme goes into full effect.
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