Clickatell and the Central Bank of Nigeria have launched an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data channel for its eNaira Central Bank Digital Currency to make basic banking accessible to all Nigerians.
The partnership aims to deliver fast, simple, and cost-effective eNaira banking services to all Nigerians using the USSD channel, eliminating the need for data available on all handsets.
“Introducing the USSD short code allows non-banked Nigerians, many of whom do not have smartphones, to access cashless banking services and is a big win for the stated goals of delivering meaningful financial inclusion. Clickatell’s role in making this a reality has been one of the most important achievements of our engagements in Nigeria,” said Uzo Nwani, Clickatell Commercial Director, West Africa.
The new USSD channel allows Nigerians using the *997# short code to create their eNaira wallet. Once this is done, they can easily check balances and transfer funds, as well as safely buy airtime or data for themselves or friends and family. Safeguarding their wallets is also easy on the channel and users can check and update their information, change and reset their pin, or even block the wallet if necessary.
CBN Deputy Governor Economic Policy, Dr. Kingsley Obiora, added, “The USSD channel is a vital part of our journey towards realizing our financial inclusion vision. We see the eNaira as a leap forward in the evolution of money. Thus, CBN is working with partners who are committed to taking advantage of this new technology for continuous innovation towards delivering exciting new features.”
As part of its efforts, the CBN is working hard to boost awareness and education around the new digital currency and has offered an incentive of 200eNGN airtime for the first 100,000 users to onboard using the eNaira USSD feature.
Looking ahead, Nwani says the Clickatell solution ideally positions the system for new and collaborative additions to help boost the eNaira services.
“Our Chat Flow product provides a robust platform to support rapid innovation. Digital currencies provide measurable customer benefits including lower costs and a simple user experience and adding new innovative features over time will definitely attract more customers. There is no doubt that the CBN has set the benchmark when it comes to financial inclusion in Africa, and we look forward to being part of that journey,” Nwani says.