The amount Nigerians spent on electronic bills such as power and other utilities grew by 387.19 per cent from N189.50bn in the first four months of 2019 to N923.24bn in the corresponding period of 2022, indicating an increase in the use of e-channels by Nigerians.
According to the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System, e-bills payment includes everyday bill payments and is an accessible and seamless account-based e-bill payment channel, with online real-time transaction reporting, biller notification, and easy reconciliation.
It said, “e-BillsPay is an electronic bill payment platform that facilitates the payment of Bills, Fees, Levies, Premiums, and Subscriptions etc. by the banking public through electronic payment channels provided and managed by Banks.”
Data from the NIBSS revealed a surge in the usage of e-bills pay after the onset of the pandemic. In the first four months of 2019, N189.50bn was paid through e-BillPay channels; in the first four months of 2020, N363.87bn was paid through these channels. The data shows sustained growth in the channel of payment as N716.99bn was paid between January and April of 2021, while N923.24bn was paid in the corresponding period of 2022. According to the NIBSS, e-BillsPay touch points include bank branches, Internet banking, mobile banking, USSD, and agent networks.
Commenting on the surge of the payment channel, the National President, Association of Mobile Money Agents in Nigeria, Victor Olojo, disclosed that mobile usage was driving the increase in e-BillsPay.
He said, “Primarily, the increase in mobile usage and mobile payment has helped very aggressively in e-bills payment as people now have access to mobile phones and are now able to do payments themselves.
“Secondly, financial inclusion; more people have access to finance and that way they can link their accounts to their mobile numbers to carry out transactions. Also, a bulk of e-bills payments have to do with utilities, PayTV, and power. More Nigerians have been able to embrace mobile banking.”
According to him, this surge is likely to continue as it ushers in ease of payment. He added that with an increase in demographic expansion, more people now have access to this form of payment. He stated that telcos were making it easy for Nigerians to carry out transactions, and the rise of fintech was also fuelling new growth.