Banks cut off Nigeria’s biggest telco from payment platforms

Tue, 6 Apr 2021 Source: bloomberg.com

Nigerian banking and communication regulators intervened in a dispute that resulted in most Nigerian lenders cutting off MTN Nigeria from their banking platforms, making it impossible for millions of customers to buy credit for their phones.

MTN Nigeria agreed to restore the commission it pays lenders for providing payment platforms to subscribers following an intervention from the central bank and the minister of communication and digital economy, spokesperson for the telecommunications company Funso Aina said by phone on Sunday.

“We hereby agree that the banks revert to status quo of 4.5% commission,” MTN Nigeria Managing Director Karl Toriola said in a letter to the chairman of a group of bank chief executives shared by Aina. The banks and the company will meet again on April 6 to resolve any dispute, according to the letter.

All lenders in Africa’s most populous country, except Zenith Bank, took MTN Nigeria off their platforms after MTN reduced the commission by almost half to 2.5%. Airtime sales were suspended through all channels -- banking apps, USSD codes and even debit cards. MTN is the West African nation’s biggest telecom services provider with about 79 million subscribers.

Banking channels are the preferred medium for many Nigerians to buy call credits on their phones because of the convenience they provide. Other telcos have not been affected by the action. The banks couldn’t be reached for comment.

Source: bloomberg.com