AFRIGO: CBN Unveils New Card Scheme, Bans Dollar Charges on Card Transactions.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),  in  conjunction  with the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), has launched the Nigerian National Domestic Card Scheme named, AfriGo, this card is aimed at creating a more robust payments system that would drive financial inclusion in the country.

Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor, while launching the card virtually on Thursday, added that the apex bank is set to bar payment of charges (in dollars) on card transactions within the country in the next few weeks.

According to him, transaction charges on all cards would  henceforth be paid in Naira, except for international transactions.

Listing the benefits of the new card, he said: “The National Domestic Card avails us the sovereignty of our data.   Secondly, it comes at lower costs and thirdly, the issue of foreign exchange.

At this time when foreign exchange challenges persist globally, it is important for me to say that we have come up with this card to ensure that all card online transactions will now effective immediately, begin to go on the Nigerian National Domestic Card System.

“At some point in the next few weeks, I am sure that the CBN will come up with the cut-off.   All domestic card transactions that will be conducted in Nigeria will have to be through the Nigerian Domestic Cards.

“Your existing cards are fine.   You can continue using them but given that charges by foreign cards are in dollars, we will no longer pay dollars for the charges on those cards.

“We will only pay dollars for charges on transactions that are done outside Nigeria. NIBSS, CBN and Nigerian banks will work together to see how to segregate those transactions to ensure that we pay fees or charges for international transactions that are conducted on both domestic cards, Visa or Master Cards, as they are known today.

“We will bar domestic charges from the Nigerian foreign exchange market at some point in the very near future.”

He further explained that the introduction of AfriGo was not an attempt to discourage international investors’ operations in the Nigerian payments space but that it had become necessary owing to its obvious advantages.

Mr. Andrew Walden of Aquila Payment Consulting, the Technical Consultants for AfriGo, described Nigeria as a regional leader in global payment trends adding that the country now stands ready to adopt the opportunities of the domestic card scheme.

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