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Nigeria Cards & Payments Market Report

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  • Published Date: May 2017 – Update due November 2022


A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in Nigeria.
It is estimated that the annual population growth rate between 2012 and 2030 will be 2.7 per cent, and Nigeria is expected to surpass the population of the United States by 2050.
The Nigerian consumer finance market is in its infancy and remains highly concentrated among the more affluent sectors of society. Debit cards dominate the payment cards market in Nigeria, representing almost 95 per cent of all issued cards.
There were about six million mobile money customers at the end of 2016. The total value of mobile money transactions stood at $2.5 billion. The e-commerce market in Nigeria has grown substantially.


  • Nigeria has a low domestic-credit to GDP ratio, which signals that there is scope for considerable growth in the consumer lending space for retail banks.
  • At the end of 2016, there were 2.1 million credit cards in circulation, representing a penetration rate of 1.6 cards per 100 adults.
  • Nigeria's credit cards market is highly concentrated among the top six issuers: Diamond Bank, FirstBank, Access Bank, UBA, Ecobank, and Zenith Bank.
  • Restrictions on overseas spending in place since 2015 have negatively impacted the credit cards market. Frequent travellers are an important segment in Nigeria's small credit cards market.
  • From May 2017, interchange fees for all debit, credit and prepaid cards will be set at 0.40 per cent for the general category and 0.85 per cent for the travel and entertainment category.
  • This replaces an MSC cap of 0.75 per cent, only 30 per cent of which went to the issuer. It is hoped that higher interchange fees will incentivise issuers to promote card payments more heavily.
  • Debit card penetration reached 29 cards per 100 adults in 2016. Nevertheless, there remains a huge potential to grow the number of debit cards in the country as banks continue to reach out to the unbanked and underserved.
  • Verve dominates the debit card networks market, although Visa and Mastercard cards have become more prevalent because of the switch to EMV standards.
  • Nigeria currently has 21 licensed Mobile Money Operators (MMOs), a group that includes 15 non-bank deployments.
  • Acquiring is carried out by the banks with elements of processing outsourced to Interswitch, Unified Payments and Cards Technology

Nigeria Payments Research | Report Contents

The economy
Retail banking
Consumer finance market
Cards market
Profit pool
Pricing and enhancements
The networks: credit cards
The networks: debit cards
Merchant acquiring and processing
Online acquiring
Regulatory and other cards market information

Appendix I: Demographics

  • Population metrics
  • Ownership of key consumer goods
  • Internet usage by population

Appendix II: The economy

  • Major economic indicators

Appendix III: Retail banking

  • Major retail banking indicators
  • Banking/infrastructure penetration
  • Retail banks key metrics
  • Retail banks profit & loss metrics

Appendix IV: Consumer finance market

  • Consumer credit outstandings and indebtedness
  • Consumer credit outstandings by product

Appendix V: Cards market

  • Credit card numbers
  • Total credit card data metrics
  • Consumer credit cards metrics
  • Commercial credit cards metrics
  • Credit cards profitability Indicators
  • Debit card numbers
  • Debit cards metrics

Appendix VI: E-money

  • Mobile money metrics

Appendix VII: Profit pool

  • Profit pool

Appendix VIII: Pricing and enhancements

  • Card pricing and enhancements

Appendix IX: The networks: credit cards

  • Networks' credit card market shares
  • Networks' credit card numbers
  • Networks' credit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of credit card transactions
  • Networks' average credit card transaction value
  • Credit card interchange fees by network

Appendix X: The networks: debit cards

  • Networks' debit card market shares
  • Networks' debit card numbers
  • Networks' debit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of debit card transactions
  • Networks' average debit card transaction value
  • Debit card interchange fees by network

Appendix XI: Card issuers

  • Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers
  • Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings
  • Key debit card Issuers market shares by debit card numbers

Appendix XII: Merchant acquiring and processing

  • Merchant acquirer credit card market share
  • Credit card merchant service charges
  • Merchant acquirer debit card market share
  • Debit card merchant service charges
  • Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships
  • Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships
  • Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers
  • Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions

Appendix XIII: Online acquiring

  • Online merchant acquirer market share

Nigeria Country Report | Selected Extracts

Demographics and Economy
Nigeria is one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse countries in the world, with more than 250 different ethnic groups and more than 500 languages.

Retail Banking
The top five banks in Nigeria ranked by total asset value are Zenith Bank, First Bank of Nigeria (FirstBank), Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) and United Bank of Africa (UBA). These five banks together are estimated to account for about 52% of the country's total retail banking assets.

Consumer Finance
At the end of 2016, total consumer-credit outstandings reached an estimated $3.9 billion, representing a growth of 4% compared with 2015. Further growth is expected as financial inclusion increases and the economy continues to grow.

Cards market
The payment cards market in Nigeria remains in a developmental stage. At the end of 2016, there were an estimated 40 million payment cards (debit and credit) in issue in the country.

Mobile Payments
The growth of mobile banking services is gaining momentum in Nigeria. There has been a considerable rise in the use of the internet and in mobile phone penetration in the country, which has widened the opportunities for banks to roll out mobile banking services.

Profit Pool
It will take several years and considerable investment from retail banks for the market to develop any clear characteristics. There were an estimated two million credit cards at the end of 2016, representing a penetration rate of 1.6 cards per 100 adults.

Card Networks:
A number of policies and initiatives including Cash-lite, the national cashless policy initiative, were introduced by the CBN to drive the development and modernisation of Nigeria's
payment system.

Key Retail Banks and Issuers
Nigeria's credit cards market is highly concentrated among the top six issuers: Diamond Bank, FirstBank, Access Bank, UBA, Ecobank, and Zenith Bank. At the end of 2016, these six banks were estimated to hold a combined market share of 93% in terms of credit cards in issue.

Acquiring and Processing
Acquiring in Nigeria is dominated by large banks, with UBA, Zenith Bank, GTBank and Access Bank accounting for approximately 79%t of credit-card acquired billed volume in 2016. The three main processors operating in Nigeria are Interswitch, Unified Payments, and Cards Technology.

Online Acquiring
The e-commerce market in Nigeria has grown substantially over the last four years; it is estimated that the segment will contribute about 10% to the country's GDP by 2018.

Regulatory and Markets Information
Nigeria's government has embarked upon a strategic plan, the Financial System Strategy 2020 (FSS 2020), to grow the economy into one of the 20 largest in the world by the end of the decade.


Financial reports include detailed market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring, retail banking, and consumer credit in Africa. Analysts use primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and African finance experts.

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