The Nigerian Central Bank’s digital currency (CBDC) wallet app is set for an update that will allow users to pay for utilities like pay TV and airtime top-ups. The addition of unstructured supplemental service data (USSD) functionality to the wallet app means unbanked individuals can make payments through the CBDC.
The update process
The wallet app for the Nigerian central bank’s digital currency, the e-naira, is set to undergo an update that will allow users to pay for regular utilities like pay-TV and airtime top-ups, a bank official reportedly said.
According to a Nairametrics report citing the official – Yusuf Abdul Jelil – the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will initiate the upgrade process by sending a message to users asking them to upgrade the wallet app To update. Jelil, who has been appointed CBN’s E-Naira representative, made the remarks while attending an event at Cairo Market in Oshodi, Lagos.
“Every moment an update comes, you will receive a message in your app directing you to update your eNaira Speed Wallet. Once you upgrade, the services you want will be available, which you can use to pay for DSTV, buy a top-up card, pay for airfare and so on,” the CBN representative said.
Meanwhile, Jelil is also quoted in the report as revealing how CBN’s plan to add USSD functionality to the wallet opens the door for non-account holders to use the CBDC. According to a finance specialist and blogger, USSD may be the best available technology that can be used to provide mobile financial services to low-income customers.
Despite CBN’s initial claims that e-naira would benefit the financially excluded, the central bank’s CBDC was not equipped with USSD functionality. The lack of USSD functionality means that the e-Naira will be used by people who already have access to financial services. However, by adding the USSD code 997, the CBN allows unbanked individuals to use the CBDC.
Meanwhile, Obinna Umeh, the secretary of the Oshodi Market Union, is quoted in the report praising the central bank’s decision to update Nigerians about the upcoming update. He said prior to Jelil’s recent announcement, merchants were being inundated with fake wallet app alerts.
“The CBN could not have come at a better time to enlighten us on e-Naira; There’s almost no day that we don’t have to settle disputes over fake alerts, times that we could channel into more productive things,” Umeh said.
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