Montise Plc today announced that the Central Bank of Nigeria has granted Montise and its partners a provisional license to introduce mobile payments in the oil-rich country.
Montise, a Visa partner, will use the card association's global platform to offer mobile financial services to Nigeria's unbanked population.
The service also will lead to the deployment of the Montise Mobile Wallet. The mobile wallet enables cell phone owners to add funds to their handsets. Mobile phone users also can transfer funds to other people or organizations. In addition, they can obtain balances via SMS text alerts.
Nigeria has a population of 149 million people, but only 19 million have bank accounts. On the other hand, 75 million own mobile phones, said Prateek Shrivastava, managing director of Montise Africa. "This amply illustrates the potential of mobile payments services across Africa," Shrivastava said. Nigeria is Africa's most populous country and the eighth most populous country in the world.
Montise's project was enabled in part by $1.5 million in development funding from the African Enterprise Challenge Fund. Montise will launch the first phase of the service to consumers in 2010. Later, Montise will offer the service to banks and other financial services providers.