The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday launched the Nigerian National Domestic Card Scheme to boost the electronic payment system in the country.

During the launch which was done virtually, the Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the card would help to reduce operating cost, charges and preserve foreign exchange in the country.

Emefiele said, “Ladies and gentlemen, at this time when foreign exchange challenges persist globally, it is important that I say that we have come up with this card to ensure that all online transactions will now effective immediately begin to go on the Nigerian National Domestic Card system.

“All domestic transactions that are going to be conducted in Nigeria will have to be through the Nigerian domestic cards.”

While the penetration of card payments in Nigeria had grown tremendously over the years, he said, many Nigerians were still excluded.

He noted that the challenges that had limited the inclusion of Nigerians include the high cost of card services as a result of foreign exchange requirements of international card schemes and the fact that existing card products do not address local peculiarities of the Nigerian market.

Given the limited usage of cards by Nigerians and in a bid to deepen penetration, he said the Bank actively promoted the National domestic card scheme which would be accessible to all Nigerians and also address local peculiarities.

He added, “But given that charges by foreign cards are in dollars, we will no longer pay dollars for the charges on those cards. Particularly, we would only pay dollars for charges for transactions that are done with whether they are domestic cards or foreign cards outside Nigeria”

The banking regulator said the CBN, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc and the Nigerian banks would work together on how to segregate those transactions to ensure that they would only make charges or fees for international transactions that are conducted on the cards or the Visa or MasterCard.

“I thought it important for me to say so not because there’s any preference for the domestic card but what is most important is that we do not have foreign exchange and we will bar payment of charges for domestic transactions from the Nigerian foreign exchange market at some point in the very near future,” he said.

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