Active Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) subscribers have increased from 173.63 million in January 2019 to 206.08 million in June 2022.
In the same way, mobile transactions have risen from N289.12bn to N9.27tn, the rise is calculated to stand at N8.981 trillion between the first seven months of 2019 and the corresponding period of 2022, this is according to data from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System.
This is as the value of cheque transactions fell by 31.42 percent, from N2.67tn in January to July 2019 to N1.83tn in the corresponding period of 2022.
The growth in the use of mobile payment gateways began to surge from 2020 due to COVID-19, while the decline in the use of cheques also began around the time.
Speaking on this topic, Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said a benefit of financial service riding on telecom infrastructure is the provision of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data as it had brought ease to financial transactions.
In its mobile money industry report for 2021, GSMA, the global body for telecommunication companies, noted that “while 2020 saw unparalleled challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the mobile money industry witnessed strong efforts in striving towards cashless societies, entering strategic partnerships to expand the horizons of digital payments and developing new and robust interoperable payment systems.”
While the mobile transaction was witnessing a surge because of COVID, the total value of amounts cleared via cheques began to witness a decline. Within the first seven months of 2019, the value of the cheques cleared was N2.67tn, in 2020 it declined to N1.86tn, and N1.85tn in 2021, before maintaining its steady decline in 2022 at N1.83tn.
In its ‘Instant Payments – 2020 Annual Statistics,’ the NIBSS asserted that mobile devices drove electronic payment in 2020 as they accounted for 43 percent of total transactions. It added that 35 percent of the transactions were with USSD and 78 percent of total transfer transactions were done using mobile devices.