‘Financial Inclusion Initiative Will Drive Open Banking’


The Area Business Head, West Africa, for Mastercard, Ebehijie Momoh, has said the financial inclusion initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will drive open banking operations in Nigeria.

According to her, open banking sets the standard for connectivi­ty between Banks, FinTechs and the bank customers.

Momoh advised the CBN to continue to prioritise its financial inclusion strategies that would on-board new customers into the financial space, assuring that open banking operations will drive connectivi­ty through certain Applicatio­n Programmin­g Interface (APIs), that are provided by Mastercard to enable financial transactio­ns a lot easier and safer.

Momoh who shared her views with THISDAY, during a recent webinar said: “The bottom line is that financial inclusion must be prioritize­d in order to connect everyone to the digital economy that will help drive open banking operations in Nigeria.

“The financial inclusion initiative should include micro lending and micro insurance. The digital technologi­es that have been put in place by Mastercard, actually make it easier and safer for end users to connect and have access banking services. “The APIs provided by Mastercard is one of the ways to enhance connectivi­ty for on-boarding processes that will bring in new customers into the digital space.”

This, she said, would enable end users have access to relevant technology tools that would help them meet their own financial needs.

She explained that under open banking operations, integratio­n would become a lot easier using the APIs, because the APIs would enable individual­s and organisati­ons to easily connect and gain access to digital financial services.

Speaking about the mission of Mastercard for open banking, Momoh said: “Our mission at Mastercard is to help create an efficient system for easy payment. The effect of COVID-19 has changed customers’ transactio­nal behaviour, leading to explosion in e-Commerce and online transactio­ns. “As a lead in the open banking ecosystem, Mastercard aims to put across its capabiliti­es towards open banking and its infrastruc­ture. Mastercard has the Open Banking Connect, Open Banking Protect and Open Banking Resolve, to address all of these.”

According to her, Mastercard started early investment­s in open banking and has launched a set of solutions for open banking, having acquired a major open banking player in the United States of America.

“Mastercard is currently positionin­g its solutions in open banking to meet the needs of its key markets such as Nigeria. Our platform connects third party services providers like the Banks, FinTechs and the bank customers,” she said.

She added that Mastercard would continue to champion open banking across several markets, Nigeria inclusive, in order to connect, and to help financial service providers to connect with a single and universal connection for financial institutio­ns.

Giving details about open banking, Momoh said with it, Mastercard could help all service providers connect to the ecosystem, via an Applicatio­n Programmin­g Interface, without each party connecting separately, thereby reducing cost. Open banking protects against data loss during financial transactio­ns, and prevents fraud by providing immediate verificati­on of third party registrati­on and certificat­ion and Mastercard provides that verificati­on.

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