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Nigerians’ seven-month expenditure on utility bills hits N1.69tn

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Nigerians spent N1.69tn electronically on utility bills such as power, Pay TV subscriptions, and other everyday utilities in the first seven months of 2022, according to data from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System.

This is a 32.06 per cent increase from the N1.28tn that was electronically spent on utilities in the corresponding period of 2021. This figure indicates an increasing acceptance of electronic channels for bills payment by Nigerians.

The NIBSS defines e-bill pay channel as an accessible and seamless account-based electronic 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.”

It added that the payment gateway worked by allowing billers to validate data and notification of successful payments before connecting to the bank for customers to view a list of billers and payment receipts after a successful transaction.

Its touch points include: bank branches, internet banking, mobile banking and USSD, and agent network. While data reveal that payment value has increased, they also show that volume has decreased.

In the first seven months of 2022, the e-bill pay platform was used 562,030 times, which was a 24.16 per cent decrease from the 741,081 times it was used in the corresponding period of 2021.

In an earlier interview, a telecommunication industry expert, who does not want his name mentioned, disclosed that mobile, convenience, and speed were the major drivers of the growth of e-bills payments in the nation.

The expert said, “When people make payments, they don’t have to wait for a long while before it reflects. People can pay on the go and get the service immediately.

“Convenience and speed are the two key drivers for it. It is important now that we are talking about financial inclusion with PSBs and other mobile money where in areas without access to banks, people can use phones to carry out financial transactions.

“Convenience and speed are driving this. Mobile is driving this adoption fast. As I have said, mobile enables on-the-go payment. It is not location-based. Mobile is the way to go, mobile is what is driving adoption.”

Also speaking, the National President, Association of Mobile Money Agents in Nigeria, Victor Olojo, had also told our correspondent, “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, with 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 has to do with utilities, PayTV, and power. More Nigerians have been able to embrace mobile banking.”

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