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Nigeria’s apex bank releases framework for fintech sandboxes, QR payments

The Nigerian Central Bank has released updated regulatory frameworks for fintech sandbox operations and for entities operating Quick Response (QR) code payments in the country.

The CBN released both guidelines, on Wednesday, January 13, 2021, and it says both frameworks were released to promote innovation in Nigeria’s financial sector and provide security for consumers.

The sandbox is a formal process for firms to conduct live tests of new innovative products, services, delivery channels, or business models. The CBN will supervise these operations in a controlled environment.

While Nigeria fintech regulations are still developing, there is a high entry barrier for new entrants, and sandboxes could present them with a safe testing environment and ease regulatory onboarding.


Recall that in June 2020, the apex released a draft framework for comments from banks, mobile money operators and payment services providers. ‘

The released framework retains most of the provisions in the original draft which we reviewed in this article.

Regulations for QR payments

QR payments are increasingly becoming a popular means of payments in Nigeria, and some industry players see it as a perfect way to boost financial inclusion in Nigeria.

QR codes are capable of storing lots of data. But no matter how much they contain, when scanned, the QR code should allow the user to access information instantly. It can be used for payments, sharing contacts and wifi passwords and lots more.

In our review of CBN’s 7-year cashless vision, Sola Fanawopo, CEO eMaginations Limited and renowned fintech expert, pointed to QR payments as a cheaper and sure-fire way to encourage merchants to adopt digital payments.

“Since POS machines are expensive, cheaper options such as QR scanners should be pushed forward to local traders like your suya guy, the person selling garri and with time even beggars on the street can accept payments through QR code like is found in other countries,” he said.

According to the CBN, participants in QR code payments will include:

  •  Merchants
  • Customers
  • Issuers (Banks, MMOs and Other Financial Institutions)
  • Acquirers (Banks, MMOs and Other Financial Institutions)
  • Payments Service Providers

It also contains other provisions for issuers, customers, and other stakeholders. It remains to be seen how much this would impact financial inclusion in Nigeria.


Featured Image by Albert Hu on Unsplash

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