MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa Plc have received approval in principle to operate a payment service banks (PSB) in the Nigeria.

The telcos made this disclosure in a regulatory submission on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX).

Airtel will operate PSB via its Smartcash Payment Service Bank Limited while MoMo Payment Service Bank Limited will be for MTN.

Segun Ogunsanya, CEO, Airtel Africa, said, “I am very pleased that Smartcash has been granted an approval in principle to operate a service bank business in Nigeria. We will now work closely with the Central Bank to meet all its conditions to receive the operating licence and commence operations.

“The final operating licence will enable us to expand our digital financial products and reach the millions of Nigerians that do not have access to traditional financial services.

“I am looking forward to working closely with the Government, the Central Bank and traditional financial institutions to expand financial inclusion and meet the evolving needs of our customers and the economy.”

Uto Ukpanah, company secretary at MTN Nigeria, said: “This is the first step in a long process that would lead to eventual approval. In other words, MTN Nigeria would be required to fulfil a number of conditions, even as ‘the decision to issue a final approval is firmly within the regulatory purview of the CBN.”

“MTN Nigeria expressed optimism that it would eventually get the PSB license, and reaffirmed its commitment to the financial inclusion agenda of the CBN in Nigeria.”

PSB operators offer digital financial services to low-income earners and the unbanked.

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