Nigeria Updates its CBDC Wallet to Enable Utility Payments and USSD Functionality

The Nigerian central bank digital currency (CBDC) wallet app is gearing up for an update that will allow users to pay for different utilities, such as topping up airtime or pay television. Adding an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) function to the wallet implies that people who do not have bank accounts will also be able to pay using CBDC.

Nigeria CBDC Update Process 

Nigeria’s e-naira, the central bank digital currency, is set to receive a new update to allow users to do more with it, such as paying for regular utilities. 

According to the Nairametrics report, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will implement the report by sending users a request asking them to update the app on their devices. Abdul Jelil, the designated CBN’s representative, made the announcement when attending an event at Kairo Market in Lagos. 

“Any moment from now, there is an update coming. You will get a message … directing you to update your e-Naira speed wallet. Once you update … you can pay for DSTV, buy a recharge card, purchase air tickets, and so on,” explained Jelil. 

Jelil further emphasized how the central bank will introduce USSD functionality to the wallet so that non-account holders will also be able to use the CBDC. This might be the best feature for helping the government to extend financial services to low-income persons. 

USSD Code 997

Initially, CBN had promised that e-Naira would be beneficial to those who are financially excluded, but it lacked the USSD functionality. This implied that only those with access to financial services already were able to use the e-naira. Including USSD Code 997, CBN will now be able to reach out to the unbanked population. 

In other news, the secretary of the Oshodi Market Union, Obinnah Umeh, commended CBN for informing Nigerians about the upcoming update. He indicated that traders had had to face fake wallet apps. 

Umeh explained that “the CBN could not have come at a better time to educate us about e-Naira. There is almost no day we do not have to settle disputes about fake alerts.”

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