LAGOS (THE NATION)--The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday said it has made banks to refund N60 billion, $18 million, Euros 26,286 and 6,196 British Pounds illegal transaction charges to customers as at March this year.
CBN Director, Banking & Payment Systems Department, ‘Dipo Fatokun who disclosed this, said the implementation of the revised Guide to Bank Charges issued to the banking industry in 2013 has helped the regulator to ensure that more illegal charges are refunded to customers.
Fatokun, who spoke at the ‘Meet The Executive’ forum organised by Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) in Lagos, said the CBN’s action aligns with its vision to protecting customers interest, which prompted the establishment and implementation of Consumer Protection Framework for the industry.
He said the apex bank has also directed all commercial banks to resolve disputes arising from use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) channel within three days.
He said such resolution will help build more confidence in the payment system and bring more people into the financial services net.
He added that some provisions of the regulatory framework for USSD such as the authentication measures for transactions, International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI), Date of SIM Swap, Date of Device change, International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) among others were meant to make the channel more effective.
Fatokun, who was represented by Assistant Director, Banking & Payments System Department, Taiwo Oladimeji, said maximum USSD transaction limit remains N100, 000 per customer per day adding that any amount above that requires customer to execute indemnity at the bank.
Speaking on the theme: Half-Year Review of Developments in the E-Payment Industry and Customer Protection, Fatokun said: “USSD transactions above N20,000 require two-factor authentication (2FA). No USSD financial service should be activated for customer unless the deactivation mechanism is put in place with effect from October, 2018. In addition, the CBN is currently working to properly structure and formalize the sandbox arrangement in Nigeria by collaborating with some infrastructure providers like the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) to interact with FinTechs”.
He added that the financial system is undergoing transformation through technology, adding that it is not only peculiar to the financial services sector, but all sectors of human endeavours.
“We are seeing new operators with technology savvy, more efficient models, and collaborations among new entrants as well as established participants in payments systems in ways that exhibit regulatory challenges. To meet up with the challenges, some countries have adopted regulatory sandbox approach which is not totally novel to the CBN. We are however working to properly structure and formalis e the sandbox arrangement in Nigeria by collaborating with some infrastructure providers to interact with FinTechs,” he said.
He said a well-functioning National Payments System (NPS) is crucial to the financial sector development as it increases confidence in the financial sector by ensuring a credible, reliable and efficient payment system. He added that in recent years, the Nigerian payment landscape has experienced a lot of innovation, bursting with enterprise and reaching the unbanked and undeserved.
Speaking further, he said consumer protection, involves a whole range of laws, policies, structures, actions and behaviours designed to protect consumers from the abuse and exploitation of service providers.
“Consumer protection is critical in improving access and usage of financial products and services. Ensures that increase access and usage of financial services, translate into benefits for the economy and individuals. Helps protect consumers from probable market abuse and exploitation. Helps consumers benefit from well informed decisions. Helps consumers appreciate how best to use and manage financial products and services,” he said.