The general purpose reloadable open loop pre-paid card remained the major type of pre-paid card available in Nigeria. Most government institutions continue to make payments through individual’s personal accounts which are tied to their debit cards.
Closed loop pre-paid cards continue to struggle in the Nigerian financial space, with categories such as the transportation pre-paid card established by the Lagos state government remaining insignificant due to the predominance of cash payments and poor infrastructure in the payment system, while the parking lot pre-paid cards in the federal capital territory, Abuja, failed due to government bureaucracy.
Government participation, particularly in the provision of closed loop pre-paid cards and the dual usage of the national identity card for pre-card payment purposes could boost the usage of pre-paid cards over the forecast period. The increasing unbanked population which cannot meet the requirements of having a bank account and students below the legal age to have an account could represent an opportunity for these types of cards.
Visa continued to lead pre-paid cards in 2018 due to its global acceptance, promotional activities and strong partnership with most issuers of pre-paid cards. As a result, the other two operators, Interswitch and MasterCard International, continued to rank second and third, respectively, in 2018.
First Bank Nigeria remained the leading issuer and extended its lead slightly in 2018 due to its wide customer base and promotional activities on the issuance and benefits of pre-paid cards to consumers, particularly to the parents of children not old enough to have a bank account.
Nigerian pre-paid cards remained dominated by general purpose reloadable open loop pre-paid cards in 2018/2019, with no significant closed loop pre-paid cards in the country. However, a transportation pre-paid card was launched in the city of Lagos by Sterling Bank in partnership with the Lagos state government; it is used on the state’s organised transport system, popularly known as BRT (Bus Rapid Transit).
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