The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Thursday, launched the Nigerian national domestic card scheme fully homegrown, owned by the government, controlled by the banking industry and focused on the Nigerian banking end users.

According to the bank, the initiative meant to boost the country’s payments landscape will work in side by side with existing cards and Point of Sales (PoS) services.

Speaking at the virtual launch of the initiative, Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, said the domestic card scheme would provide opportunities to integrate the informal segment of the economy, reduce shadow banking, and bring more Nigerians into the formal financial services system.

The CBN Governor said Nigerians could continue to use the existing payments cards in the country for transactions.

He added, “But given that charges by foreign cards are in dollars, we will no longer pay dollars for the charges on those cards. “Particularly, we would only pay dollars for charges on transactions that are done with ether domestic cards or foreign cards outside Nigeria.”

The banking regulator said the CBN, Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc and the Nigerian banks would work together on how to segregate those transactions to ensure that they would only make charges or fees for international transactions that are conducted on the cards or the Visa or MasterCard.

The establishment of National Domestic Card Scheme will not affect the usage of other cards such as Mastercard, visa and Verve in Nigeria.

Card holders will enjoy improved affordability and more flexible payment options he explained.

According to the CBN governor, while the penetration of card payments in Nigeria had grown tremendously over the years, many Nigerians were still excluded.

Emefiele said one of the challenges facing financial inclusion in the country are the high cost of card services as a result of foreign exchange requirements of international card schemes, as well as the inability of existing card products to address local peculiarities of the Nigerian market.


He further explained that given the limited usage of cards by Nigerians and in a bid to deepen penetration, the banks actively promoted the national domestic card scheme which would be accessible to all Nigerians and also cater to local peculiarities.

“Transaction charges on all cards would, henceforth, be paid in naira, except for international transactions.

“The national domestic card avails us the sovereignty of our data. Secondly, it comes at lower costs, and thirdly, the issue of foreign exchange,” he stated.

At this time when foreign exchange challenges persist globally, it is important that “I say that we have come up with this card to ensure that all online transactions will now immediately begin to go on the Nigerian national domestic card system,” Emefiele said.

According to him, at some point in the next few weeks, the CBN will come up with the cut-off.

All domestic transactions that are going to be conducted in Nigeria will have to be through the Nigerian domestic cards, he assured.

“Your existing cards are fine. You can continue using them but given that charges by foreign cards are in dollars, we will no longer pay dollars for the charges on those cards,” Emefiele explained.

He further explained:“We will only pay dollars for charges on transactions that are done outside Nigeria. NIBSS, the CBN, and Nigerian banks will work together to see how to segregate those transactions to ensure that we pay fees or charges for international transactions that are conducted on both domestic cards, Visa or Master Cards, as they are known today.

“I thought it important for me to say so not because there’s any preference for the domestic card but what is most important is that we do not have foreign exchange and we will bar payment of charges for domestic transactions from the Nigerian foreign exchange market at some point in the very near future.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my immense privilege to present to you- Nigeria’s National Domestic Card Scheme AFRIGO !!.”

In her remarks, Mrs Aishah. N. Ahmad,Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria and

Chairman, NIBSS said the National Domestic Card Scheme will bring about cost savings for the industry; heralds a new vista of opportunities for the card

business, that several countries continue to recognize and leverage as they create their own domestic card schemes to augment existing foreign

payment card rails.

“This is an important platform for further innovation to solve some of the most pressing issues around financial inclusion, SME payments and trade facilitation primarily, supporting the drive for a robust digital economy for the Nigerian market, the African continent and the world,” she stated.

Also speaking at the event, Premier Oiwoh, Managing Director of NIBSS, said the scheme was developed to promote a robust in-country domestic card payment scheme tailored to address the specific requirements of Nigeria’s payment industry.


Almost six (6) days ahead of the January 31, 2023 deadline of the Central Bank of Nigeria on the old and the new currency traders, top hotels and businesses in Lagos have stopped accepting the old naira.

Nigerian Tribune went round some areas in the Lagos metropolis and discovered that many sellers of cloth, food items, and other items are rejecting the old naira notes for fear of being caught up with time and unable to deposit same to the banks.

It was also discovered that most traders have closed, hoping to reopen after the deadline.

At Computer Village in Ikeja Lagos, Mr. Basil Awah, a computer parts seller said he left his shop since morning to the bank to see if he can get the newly redesigned naira notes, but all his efforts proved abortive.

According to him, ” all the banks in computer village here: Zenith, UBA, Fidelity Bank said they do not have the new notes.

“We tried their Automated Teller Machines, but no money. We locked our shops and went into the banking hall but the again asked us to use the ATMs, even when they know the machines are empty.”

Mr. Awah said he, and other colleagues had to call the numbers in the sensitization flyers given to them by the CBN when during the apex banks visit last week and were assured by the responders that their complaints would be addressed.


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