COVID-19: ONLINE INSTANT PAYMENTS HIT 3.71 MILLION
Bank customers across the country carried out over 3.71 million online instant payments on Nigeria Interbank Settlement System Instant Pay platform as Lagos and other states’ residents prepare for partial shutdown. Live updates provided by the NIBSS stated that at 6.05pm on the Wednesday, NIP deals hit exactly 3,713,849. In order to curb the spread of coronavirus, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-olu, had directed that markets selling non-essential items in the state to be shut as from Thursday (today) for seven days.
He, however, exempted some markets, especially those selling food items, water, drugs, medical equipment and other life-saving items from the closure. Ekiti, Osun, Ondo, and Edo state governments also followed suit, announcing closure of their markets to minimise public gatherings. Analyses of the live electronic payment data indicated that a low failure rate of 0.33 per cent was recorded on the platform, with customers experiencing a total of 12,132 failed transactions and 3.7 million successful payments.
NIP has been adjudged the most preferred platform for electronic payment having grossed more transactions in monetary terms than PoS and e-Bills Payment over the years. Instant payments reached a peak at 3.15pm on Wednesday, recording a total volume of 46,389 at that time. The statistics also showed that Point of Sales transactions carried out by merchants and retailers in the country were high at 1,274,393 as of 6.07pm on Wednesday.
The data indicated that transactions on PoS had a failure rate of 13.03 per cent as the volume of failed transactions on the terminals stood at 189,257 at the same time. Electronic payment on PoS peaked also at 10.50am, recording a volume of 13,981 at that time. Long queues were seen at bank’s ATM in Iju Ishaga, Agege and Ogba areas as many Lagos residents bombarded banks to make withdrawals and last-minute purchases. Many residents, who thought major food markets were among those that would be closed down, rushed to buy food items in bulk.
It was observed that traders in Ile-Epo market, a major food market along Lagos-Abeokuta Road, used the opportunity of high patronage to hike the prices of food items. Many traders doubled the prices of tomatoes and vegetables. A bunch of Okro, which cost N100 was sold for N200; a bucket of tomatoes which cost N300 before was sold for N600 while yam tubers worth N500 was sold for N800. Data on the e-payment platform efficiency showed that ‘transfer limit exceeded’ and account name mismatch and unavailable beneficiary accounts were some of the factors responsible for failed NIP though the numbers of unsuccessful payments were insignificant. The report indicated that errors originating from customers, acquirer banks and issuer bank accounted for most of the unsuccessful PoS transactions.