Unresolved failed electronic transactions


Records have shown that the volumes and values of electronic payment transactions, which slumped in  February to N37.6 trillion has climbed to N49.4 trillion by March.

Though  e-banking has a significant impact on economic growth in Nigeria, therefore the banking industry is supposed to adjust to full and effective deployment of information technology due to its sophistication since the technology with relative perceived advantage to retain  millions of customers confidence in the banking system.

The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) was silent about unresolved transactions, industry sources noted that only 60 per cent of the ePayment transaction failures that occurred earlier in the year had been resolved, leaving 40 per cent of complaints unresolved.

The current  data released by the NIBSS showed that ePayments were up by over 23 per cent within one month, attributable to surge in the total value of e-payment transactions last month as well as sustained use of digital payment channels despite the waning cash scarcity.

This is notwithstanding the rise in ePayment adoption, there are still several unresolved failed ePayment transactions that characterised the first quarter. These problems have continued to keep more Nigerians in the banking hall. These transactions, according to findings, run into millions of Naira.

While to some people, it could be as low as N2,000; there are however, transactions that run into hundreds of thousands that are currently hanging, which have not been reversed. In the last three weeks about 70 per cent of bank customers, who visit the banks, were there to resolve issues that border on failed ePayment transactions. These lapses cut across the entire four walls of this country from Maiduguri to Uyo, Sokoto to Lagos, Enugu to Kwara in the same story. Customers continued to besiege the banking halls with the hope that their failed ePayment transactions would be resolved. While many customers were told to come back, others lament that their transactions could not be traced, setting in rounds of frustrations on the banking public.

While usage grew drastically, transaction value only grew marginally by 7.88 per cent from N2.37trillion in January to N2.56trillion in February. This mirrored the experience of many Nigerians in the month, who had to grapple with multiple failed mobile transactions.

Since the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced its naira redesign policy and withdrawal limits, in 2022, Nigerians have had to adopt electronic forms of transactions.

While announcing its policy, the apex bank said, “The maximum weekly limit for cash withdrawals across all channels by individuals and corporate organisations shall be N500,000 and N5million respectively. Customers should be encouraged to use alternative channels (Internet banking, mobile banking apps, USSD, cards/POS, eNaira, etc.) to conduct their banking transactions.

Unfortunately, the pressure of increased electronic payment has overwhelmed the banking sector, leaving many customers waiting and stranded in the banks.

Nigerians have been on Twitter, tagging banks, and complaining about failed transactions.

Recently, the Vice President of the Nigerian Association of Small-Scale Industrialists, Seun Kuti-George “made a payment to someone one morning and they did not receive the alert immediately.

“I had to leave the goods there until the next morning hoping that the fellow would get alert by then. If it was an emergency or a matter of life and death or a matter of contract that will be cancelled, I would have lost that.”

Pertinently, the CBN needs to rebuild confidence in teeming Nigerians to inculcate banking culture as many are losing hope gradually. The recent naira policy redesign by the Federal Government causing scarcity of the currencies cannot be easily erased from the memories of the public.

Though the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has admitted that Nigerians are experiencing difficulties in carrying out online banking transactions due to the deluge of online transactions that hit Nigeria’s banking industry.

The  CBN Governor apologised for the online transaction failures said the apex bank would sustain the current monetary tightening regime following the continued rise in headline inflation that has posed significant risks to Nigeria’s economy.

Emefiele said this as the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the CBN resolved to raise the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) known as interest rate by 50 basis points to 18 per cent from 17.5 per cent.

“I must apologise. Yes, online channels fail. But no doubt it is as a result of the deluge of online transactions that hit the banking industry. But it is being resolved.

“On a daily basis, our Payment System Management Department monitors the online payment platforms so as to make sure that when there is a downtime, they are quickly resolved so that transactions can go on smoothly.”

The CBN Governor however noted that the apex bank retained other monetary policy parameters including bank’s Cash Reserve Requirement (CRR) at a minimum of 32.5 per cent as well as the Liquidity Ratio (LR) at 30 per cent. He further explained that the decision to raise interest rate was taken to further rein in inflation. It could be noted that the MPR is the rate at which the CBN lends to commercial banks and often determines the cost of borrowing in the economy.

Beyond this presentation by the Apex bank Governor, drastic measures must be taken as Nigerians are losing billions of naira to failed electronic transactions.

The CBN should setup a committee that will primarily focus on finding lasting solutions to these failed online transactions.