Clickatell enables access to eNaira services in Nigeria

Tuesday 20 September 2022 13:07 CET | News

US-based CPaaS innovator Clickatell has partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to deliver eNaira banking services to Nigerians using the USSD channel.


Clickatell has collaborated with the CBN to launch a USSD channel for its eNaira Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) as part of the country’s drive to make basic banking accessible to all Nigerians, ultimately driving financial inclusion.

The eNaira was launched in October 2021 when the Nigerian officials said Africa’s first central bank-backed digital currency would help boost remittances, foster cross-border trade, and help the government make welfare payments more easily. With financial inclusion at the heart of the eNaira goals, it is believed that the CBDC would increase GDP in the country by USD 29 billion over the next 10 years.

Clickatell has partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to deliver eNaira banking services to Nigerians using the USSD channel.

Utility of the USSD channel

Introducing the USSD short code allows non-banked Nigerians, many of whom do not have smartphones, to access cashless banking services and is a big win for the stated goals of delivering meaningful financial inclusion, as per the press release. Clickatell’s role in making this a reality has been one of the aims of its engagement in Nigeria.

The new USSD channel allows Nigerians using the *997# short code to create their eNaira wallet. Once this is done, they can easily check balances and transfer funds, as well as safely buy airtime or data for themselves or friends and family. Safeguarding their wallets is also easy on the channel and users can check and update their information, change and reset their pin, or even block the wallet if necessary.

USSD usage in Nigeria

Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) is a communications protocol that is supported by 99% of GSM handsets. It remains particularly relevant in developing communities where it is used to provide services at a much lower cost and can be used without requiring access to the user’s SIM card.

Despite the rapid growth of smartphones, the majority of Nigerians are currently using feature phones, making an excellent case for the USSD offering. The CBN is counting on the new channel making rapid inroads towards getting most of the 30% of unbanked Nigerians into the formal banking system.

As part of its efforts, the CBN is working hard to boost awareness and education around the new digital currency and has offered an incentive of eNGN 200 (eNaira currency) airtime for the first 100,000 users to onboard using the eNaira USSD feature.

About eNaira

eNaira is a Central Bank of Nigeria-issued digital currency that provides a unique form of money denominated in Naira. eNaira serves as both a medium of exchange and a store of value, offering better payment prospects in retail transactions when compared to cash payments.

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Keywords: CBDC, mobile banking, digital wallet, digital payments, financial inclusion
Categories: Banking & Fintech
Companies: Central Bank of Nigeria, Clickatell
Countries: Nigeria
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Banking & Fintech

Central Bank of Nigeria



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