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Maximising the uptake of digital financial services through understanding consumer perspectives

March 4, 2014

EFInA hosted a workshop in Lagos to share findings from new research conducted on mobile money and other digital financial services.  As Nigeria goes cash-less, the landscape for digital financial services, including mobile money, card payments, and electronic funds transfers, is changing rapidly.  EFInA hosted the workshop to help the financial services industry better understand consumers’ needs, in order to drive uptake and usage of digital financial services.  The workshop was attended by a broad range of stakeholders, including mobile money operators, deposit money banks, microfinance banks, payment service providers, insurance companies, and regulators.

Ms. Salah Goss, Programme Officer in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Financial Services for the Poor team, gave the opening remarks.  Ms. Goss spoke about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s innovative approach to managing data on digital financial services, including deployment of an interactive map that shows financial access points in Nigeria. She informed participants that they could access the data by visiting  Ms. Goss challenged financial services providers to fully realise the power of data, saying that, “Research is one of the tools most under-utilised by financial services providers.”  She also highlighted that most Nigerian mobile money users already have bank accounts, indicating that mobile money operators may need to rethink their marketing strategies in order to reach under-served Nigerians and promote financial inclusion.

The Chief Executive Officer of EFInA, Modupe Ladipo, shared the results of an EFInA study on mobile money and e-payments in the locations where the Central Bank of Nigeria has deployed the second phase of the Cash-less Policy (Abia, Anambra, Kano, Ogun and Rivers states, and the FCT).  Findings indicated that cards were the most widely known and used e-payment instrument among respondents in the Cash-less Phase II states. In addition, mobile money had relatively low levels of awareness and usage, with only 4% of customers interviewed in these states using mobile money.  The top three reasons given by customers for not using mobile money were lack of trust, lack of know-how, and unreliable GSM networks.  Ms. Ladipo made recommendations regarding specific initiatives the financial services industry could take to build awareness, trust, and uptake of mobile money and other digital financial services, such as deploying strategic awareness campaigns, setting and fair and transparent pricing, and creating incentives for both customers and agents.

Peter Goldstein, Financial Inclusion Insights Programme Director at InterMedia, shared top-line findings from InterMedia’s Financial Inclusion Insights study in Nigeria.  The nationally representative survey found that 12% of Nigerians aged 15 and above were aware of mobile money, and less than 1% of Nigerians used mobile money.  Respondents perceived the primary advantages of mobile money to be speed, convenience, and security; although the study revealed that there may be a need to build more trust among potential mobile money users.  Mr. Goldstein encouraged participants to visit the InterMedia’s interactive data centre at and to review the full survey report, which will be published in April 2014.


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