The introduction of several policies introduced by the CBN has caused Nigerians to make use of alternatives such as e-payment and POS transactions. However, the alternative sources have not been so effective as failed transactions have hampered the success of online transactions.
According to reports, the volumes and values of electronic payment transactions that dropped in February have risen from N37.6 trillion to N49.4 trillion in March. Although the NIBSS made no comments about the number of failed transactions, recent reports have shown that only 60% of failed e-payment transactions which occurred in the year were resolved, which leaves 40% of complaints unresolved.
Recent data released by the NIBSS shows that the volume of epayment transactions rose by over 23% in the last month, which has been attributed to an increase in the total value of e-payment transactions last month and kept maintained a steady growth due to the continuous use of digital payment solution and waning cash scarcity.
According to investigative reports, despite the rise in the value of e-payment transactions, there are still many unresolved failed e-payment transactions, many of which occurred in the first quarter of the year and are amounting to millions of naira. This has caused many Nigerians to keep visiting the banks to report these transactions.
E-Payment Transactions In Nigeria Rise To 49 Trillion In March 2023
These transactions range from as low as N2000 to hundreds of thousands and many of them remain unresolved.
Reports shows that 70% of bank customers, who have been visiting the banks, are there to resolve issues on failed epayment transactions.
Across the country, the reports have been the same, from Lagos to Kano, Ondo to Kebbi, and Rivers to Sokoto states. Banking halls are congested with many customers who are there to report failed e-payment transactions so they can be resolved. Many were told to come back, while others complained that their transactions could not be found, with frustrations written on their faces.
Although many of these transactions are not limited to banking transactions only as similar problems have been reported at supermarkets, shopping malls, cinemas, and other hot spots in Nigeria. Nigerians are complaining of failed transactions.
This has frustrated many Nigerians, and due to the rise of transaction failures caused by unstructured supplementary data (USSD), failed automated teller machine (ATM) terminal transactions, which has been caused by slow service and disrupted internet banking system, etc.
According to data made available to BrandSpur Nigeria, PoS transaction volume rose from 113.53 million in February to 177.93 million in March, as well as an increase of about 30.41% in the value of transactions, which rose from N883.4 billion to N1.152 trillion.
Transactions carried out on mobile devices as shown by the system rose in volume from 183,687.1 in February to 380,110.94 in March. The value also increased from N2.56 trillion in February to N4.14 trillion in March.
This is also shown in the number of debts owed by telecoms operators at banks on USSD transactions also continued to rise, according to the Head of Operations, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators (ALTON), Gbolahan Awonuga, has risen to N100 billion and debts have not been paid.
The challenges faced by the banking industry have been on for a long time and have compounded over the past few years, due to increased cashless policies introduced by the CBN. However, many of the unresolved transactions have breached CBN rules of dispense errors.
According to a circular on June 1, 2020, which June 8, 2020, signed by the former CBN Director, of Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, titled: “CBN Revises Timelines for Dispense Errors, Refund Complaints,”, the document emphasized on the need to deliver quality services especially on funds reversal and customer complaints on the failed transaction, dispense errors and disputes. The document states as follows “Failed “On-Us” ATM transactions (when customers use their cards on their bank’s ATMs) shall be instantly reversed from the current timeline of three (3) days. Where instant reversal fails due to any technical issue or system glitch, the timeline for manual reversal shall not exceed 24 hours.
“Refunds for failed “Not-on-Us” ATM transactions (where customers use their cards on other banks’ ATMs) shall not exceed 48 hours from the current 3-5 days. Resolution of disputed/failed PoS or Web transactions shall be concluded within 72 hours from the current five (5) days. All banks are directed to resolve the backlog of all ATM, POS, and Web customer refunds within two weeks starting June 8, 2020.”.
Narrating her experience with failed transactions, Raliat Oyadeyi, shared “I was to make an urgent transfer to my mum for medicals. I was debited but the recipient account was not credited for days. That was frustrating because I sent the balance to my account. The problem was not resolved until about four weeks later after I had visited the banks multiple times. ”
A Chief Information Officer, who pleaded anonymity disclosed that banks have been able to resolve 60% of epayment transaction failures that occurred in February and March. He added that “the challenge is much. It was exacerbated by the shortage of infrastructure and reduced manpower in the banking sector. You know most technical staffers have left for abroad. It is really a huge challenge in the industry, but we are managing it. I can say that we have resolved about 60 per cent of ePayment failures. We have upgraded our infrastructure too. At our bank, we have employed more technical hands to salvage the situation.”.
While Chairman, the Committee of e-Business Industry Heads, Celestina Appeal also disclosed that banks have spent huge investments financially to establish electronic banking channels and IT infrastructure across Nigeria.
She said “As an impact of this surge, we witnessed some transaction failures on ePayment channels, and I am aware that banks quickly rose to the challenge of upscaling these channels and infrastructure to meet the demands. This situation is calm now, Banks have absorbed the lessons from these scenarios and are very well prepared to serve customers regardless of the level of demand or transaction traffic.
“I do not have the exact figure for the failure rates as it stands today, but going by our analysis, the failure rate (in percentage) has not worsened, the systems only experienced more failed transactions counts as a direct reflection of the increased overall transaction fed into the digital payment ecosystem,”