Cheque Issuance Drops By 27% Since 2014 As Nigerians Go For E-Channels

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Adoption of and penchant for electronic payment usage are gaining traction across the country as more Nigerians embrace electronic payment transactions at the expense of cheque for transactions, New Telegraph investigation has revealed.

It was learnt that the use of cheque for transaction payments had crashed by more than 27 per cent since 2014. The value of cheque issued in 2014 was N7.269 trillion, according to the latest e-payment status report obtained from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS).

However, the 2014 value reduced to N6.195 trillion in 2015 while in 2016, the value of cheque issued by individual, corporate and government banking customers fell to N5.277 trillion. New Telegraph gathered that between 2014 and 2016, the difference of N1.991 trillion in the total value of cheque transactions by banking customers, thus represents a crash of 27 per cent.

Already, sources from small and big establishments in Nigeria revealed that most financial transactions are now through electronic transactions.

“Yes, the NIBSS data you quoted may not be far from the truth because more transactions are tending towards electronic channels rather than cheque because the former is instantaneous, flexible and very efficient,” an official of a telecoms company told our correspondent.

Also, in a random interview conducted with banking customers at different locations in Lagos State, majority of the banking public told New Telegraph that they were more attuned to electronic transactions than issuing cheques, whether as being creditor or being debited.

Those who said they were yet to fully embrace cash transaction maintained that they would go the way of e-payment once they have the guarantee that their money is in safe hands.

“Since the introduction of cashless policy and subsequent opening up of different transactions channels, I have stopped going to the banking hall to unnecessarily waste my time.

For instance, I have a token that I use to do transfers within the four corners of my office and home. I can’t just fathom going to join a long queue in the banks again because I want to pay or withdraw,” said Mr. Bolu Abayomi, who said he had dropped his savings withdrawal slip and cheque book.

In the same vein, Bisi Adewunmi, 34, said he started a housing project two years ago. “Since I started building the house around Ikorodu area, I have never paid my workers cash.

The good things is that all the artisans that have been working with me on the housing project are banked, ranging from the bricklayer, block maker, the welder to the carpenter, so I pay them cashless: I just do transfer.

That, to me, brings a lot of convenience and saves time,” Adewunmi said. “Electronic payment is the way to go whether in the private or public sector. We need to leverage technology to ensure efficiency in our financial transactions,” said Executive Director, Systemspecs, Mr. Deremi Atanda.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Secretary of the Electronic Payment Providers Association of Nigeria (E-PPAN), Mrs. Regha Onajite, stressed that with more collaborations among stakeholders to tackle e-fraud, more Nigerians would be adopting e-payment channels.

“Despite the great advantage that e-payment brings to us as a people, the issue of electronic fraud appears to be a threat to adoption.

This is where all hands must be on deck to work collaboratively towards dealing with efrauds to ignite greater adoption”, Onajite said, stressing that in order to significantly reduce fraud, it is essential to formulate a solid and comprehensive e-payment security mechanism.

Also commenting on phone, the Chief Executive Officer of NIBSS, Mr. Ade Shonubi, said: “As more and more Nigerians and organisations begin to key into such truly cashless payment platforms such as the National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT) and NIBSS Instant Payment (NIP), Point of Sales (PoS), Automated Teller Machines Funds Transfers, as well as mobile money, the emphasis on cheque transactions will continue to decline.”

Although he observed that cheque was still being used for documentation purposes, among others, Shonubi said the decline in the use was also an indication that “increasingly, more individual Nigerians and organisations were embracing cashless platforms, which are more convenient, faster and safer.”

Shonubi, who noted that as war against electronic fraud was recording more successes, more people would have increased confidence in electronic transactions rather than cash-based transactions, as no country in the world had a zero cash economy.

“What we are advocating at NIBSS is that cashless transactions would remove the cost of cash handling and consequently lead to increased financial inclusion in the system,” he said.

In the same vein, the Chief Executive Officer, Precise Financial System (PFS), Mr. Yele Okeremi, told New Telegraph that despite the gradual reduction in the value of cheque transactions being carried out by Nigerians, a lot of efficiency has also been brought into cheque clearance, making it possible for a creditor to get his or her payment in much lesser time than it was two years ago.

Through iTeller solution, a 360-degree suite of cheque capture, truncation, clearing, and processing, Okeremi said Nigeria has been able to achieve T+0 (same day) cheque clearance.

He said the cashless scheme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been changing the “architecture, the processes and mode of doing financial transactions in positive ways.”