Nigeria’s telco giants MTN and Airtel have secured the nod from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to become financial technology (FinTech) firms.
Confirming this development in separate statements seen by Unmask NG, MTN and Airtel disclosed that with CBN’s Approval in Principle, they can now operate payment services in the country.
While MTN said it would run a payment service under Momo Payment Service Bank Limited, Airtel made it known that it would only operate a payment service under SMARTCASH Payment Service Bank Limited.
Segun Ogunsanya, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Airtel Africa, stated: “We will not work closely with the CBN to meet all its conditions to receive the operating licence and commence operations.
“The final operating licence will enable us to expand our digital financial products and reach the millions of Nigerians that do not have access to traditional financial services.”
On its part, MTN stated: “This is the first step in the process towards final approval, subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions as stipulated by the CBN.
“The decision to issue a final approval is firmly within the regulatory purview of the CBN and we respect their right and judgment in that regard.”
What you should know
MTN and Airtel are not the first telcos to be licenced for banking services.
It would be recalled that two years ago, the CBN granted Globacom and 9Mobile PSB licences through their subsidiaries, Money Master PSB and 9 PSB, respectively.
According to the central bank, PSBs are to leverage mobile and digital channels in order to enhance financial inclusion and stimulate economic activities in rural areas through the provision of financial services.