On March 14, 2018, the Central Bank of Nigeria released an approved version of its “Regulation for Bill Payments in Nigeria, 2018” aiming to “facilitate the development of an efficient and effective payments system in Nigeria.” The Regulation intends to accomplish four stated objectives:
- To document the minimum standards that must be complied with for the processing of bill payment transactions;
- To identify stakeholders in Bill Payment system space;
- To ensure achievement of the vision of a ‘nationally utilized and international recognized’ payments system in Nigeria;
- To ensure adequate protection for the stakeholders in the Bill Payment system space.
Bill payments stakeholders are identified and defined within the Regulation (payer, biller, payer’s bank, biller’s bank and payments service provider (PSP)) with the Central Bank of Nigeria defines a PSP as "a person licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria to provide services involving direct interactions with the payment, settlement and clearing systems and payment system arrangements, as the Bank may authorize from time to time and may include a bank, Mobile Money Operators or Other Financial Institution that is connected directly to a Biller without any service intermediary."
The scope of payment methods the regulation is intended to cover includes “Cheques, Cards, Direct Debit, Instant Payments, and Automated Clearing House, etc.” It also sets forth eligibility criteria for licensing as a bill payment platform operator or PSP, provides definitions of the stakeholders, defines operation procedures, other requirements (such as settlement and customer support) and provides for a dispute resolution system.