Merchants Dump POS, Inactive Terminals Hit 131,201
Some retailers using Point of Sales terminals to receive payments have abandoned the device and reverted to cash payments, investigation has shown. Some of them who spoke with our correspondent said the decision to dump the PoS devices meant to facilitate cashless transactions was because customers declined using the terminals to avoid paying N50 stamp duty charge.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, in a circular to banks, processors and switches on September 17 had authorised banks to unbundle merchant settlement amounts and charge applicable taxes and duties on individual taxes and duties on individual transactions. The CBN directed all PoS and web processing officers to ensure that stamp duty was correctly processed daily by downloading transactions valued at N1, 000 and above, multiply the count of the transactions by N50 and pass the corresponding debit to the respective merchant accounts. A retailer dealing in Fast Moving Consumer Goods in the Ogba area of Lagos, Mr Kola Alade, said the N50 stamp duty charge was an unnecessary burden on customers who did not see the value in the deduction. He called on the government to have a rethink as the directive was discouraging cashless payments. “Sometimes, I have to ask some of my sales representatives to accompany my customers to Automatic Teller Machines to collect cash because they have refused to use the PoS,” Alade said. Another grocery store manager in Ikeja, Mr Philip Bassey, said payments with the PoS terminals had drastically reduced and his terminals had become redundant. This development may have informed the reduction in the number of active terminals that had been registered for transactions. Statistics obtained from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement Scheme showed that the number of inactive PoS terminals in the country tripled in the last 10 months to reach 131, 201 in October.
In January this year, NIBSS data showed that the number of inactive terminals was 43,320. Out of a total of 404,283 terminals that had been registered by Nigerian banks as of October, only 273,082 had been deployed for cashless transactions. The data showed that a total of 150,153 new PoS terminals were registered by banks for cashless transactions across the country in the first 10 months of the year. In January, 7,975 new terminals were registered by Nigerian banks, in February, 5,854 terminals were registered and 2,161 PoS terminals were registered in March. In the month of April, the number of new terminals obtained by merchants recorded a boost as 17,102 PoS terminals were registered by banks. In May this year, 9,967 new terminals were registered by banks while in June, the registered terminals reduced to 1,297. A total of 11,234 new terminals were registered in July; and 7,844 PoS devices in August this year. September saw new PoS registration peak with 69,248 new terminals while 20,065 new PoS terminals were registered in October. The President, Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria, Mr Victor Olojo, confirmed the dwindling PoS transactions, saying it was unprofitable for merchants to continue using the devices without charging customers. He said, “We have filling stations and big merchants who have actually dumped the PoS because customers have declined using it and in other cases, it is not profitable any more when they don’t charge customers, they have to bear the cost of the N50 stamp duty. To a large extent, the PoS is still a very important tool for agent banking and in most cases, the agents try to push the N50 stamp duty charge to the end users.”