Chat commerce platform Clickatell has partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to launch a USSD channel for the eNaira to enable Nigerians to access their eNaira wallet without the need for mobile data.
The new USSD channel allows Nigerians using the *997# short code to create their eNaira wallet. Once this is done, they can check balances and transfer funds, as well as buy airtime or data for themselves or friends and family.
Unstructured Supplementary Service Data or USSD, is a communications protocol supported by 99% of GSM handsets which remains particularly relevant in developing communities.
The CBN is counting on the new channel making rapid inroads towards getting most of the 30% of unbanked Nigerians into the formal banking system.
The eNaira Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) was launched in October 2021 and the Nigerian President has said that the CBDC will help increase GDP by US$29 billion in the next 10 years.
“Introducing the USSD short code allows non-banked Nigerians, many of whom do not have smartphones, to access cashless banking services and is a big win for the stated goals of delivering meaningful financial inclusion,” said Uzo Nwani, Clickatell Commercial Director, West Africa.
“The USSD channel is a vital part of our journey towards realising our financial inclusion vision. The CBN is working with partners who are committed to taking advantage of this new technology for continuous innovation towards delivering exciting new features,” said Dr. Kingsley Obiora, CBN Deputy Governor Economic Policy.