Adoption of Mobile Money Services Slow Due To Low Public Awareness

Abuja, Nigeria. August 13th, 2013 – Latest weekly poll released by NOI Polls Limited has revealed that almost 6 in 10 Nigerians (59%) are not aware of mobile money services and only 13% of those that are aware of mobile money have adopted it. Also, it was found that the overwhelming majority (93%)operate their mobile money account in connection with their bank accounts. Generally, mobile money users have had positive experiences indicating that it is easy to use, secure, saves cost and time; while about 7 in 10 (71%) non-users said they would consider using mobile money services in the future. These are the main findings from the Mobile Money Services Snap Poll conducted in the week of 5th August 2013.

In recent times, the Nigerian Payments System has been experiencing new innovations and transformation in line with the CBN’s financial system strategy vision 2012.  The CBN introduced mobile money services to provide basic financial services and create payment access especially to unbanked Nigerians, and also help drive financial inclusion in the country. Mobile Money enables monetary transactions to be done on mobile phones through text messaging. Operations that can be carried out include money deposit, bills payments, funds transfer and withdrawal payment for purchased goods and services[1]

In line with the introduction of the mobile money policy, The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN licensed 16 banks and other financial institutions to establish the services all over the states, sometime in August 2011. Analysts at Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) Limited suggested that if the potentials of the mobile banking are properly harnessed then an increased bankable Nigerians should be anticipated since there is a high penetration of mobile telecommunications in Nigeria.

Mobile money is a real tool for economic growth and development, if fully explored. In addition to its ability to increase transactions, it serves as an alternative way of storing money, for both the banked as well as unbanked subscribers as well as facilitates the payment of goods and services, while reducing the risk of theft and loss as it involves a lesser handling of cash. In addition, mobile money reduces the cost of payments as it eliminates the requirement for physical points of presence. Its facilitation of financial inclusion will bring a great impact on the lives of the ordinary Nigerian. As soon as people gain access to financial services, their cash management and personal financial planning will improve and this will lead to a greater ability to save.

More than a year into its introduction, the scheme has suffered slow-adoption by Nigerians as the licensed operators of the mobile money services have not made great headway in the  deployment of the services across the states. This has attracted great concern and worries from expert and stakeholders. In line with this, one major challenge the scheme has faced is the low awareness of the total process and its benefits to stakeholders. Some other challenges associated to the slow roll out and adoption of the mobile money process includes; the lack of finance and basic infrastructure; few agents, and the exclusion of mobile operators from taking part in the execution of the service.[2]

Based on this background, NOI Polls conducted its latest poll on Mobile Money Services to explore the current level of awareness among Nigerians, to determine the present rate of adoption and potential for the future.

Respondents to the poll were asked 10 specific questions. The first question sought to measure the awareness of Nigerians on Mobile Money services. Respondents were asked: Have you ever heard of Mobile Money services? In response to this question the majority overall (59%) are not aware of Mobile Money services, comparatively, 41% are aware of the services.

Analysis based on geo-political zones shows that the South-South (54%), South-West (46%) and the North-Central (43%) zones had the highest proportions of respondent that are knowledgeable of Mobile Money services.  Conversely, the North-East (70%), South-East (64%) and the North-West (63%) zones accounted for the highest proportions of respondents that did not have any knowledge of Mobile Money services.

Measuring the level of awareness based on age revealed that the age category with the highest number of respondents that are aware of Mobile Money services is 35-44 years (48%) of respondents. This is closely followed by respondents within the age category of 45-54 years (46%). The 65+ age group has the highest proportion of respondents (79%) that are not aware of it, closely followed by the 18-21 age group (78%).

[1] Central Bank of Nigeria:

[2] Prospects and Challenges of Mobile Money on Nigerian Economy:

The second question sought to determine the sources of awareness of Mobile Money services. Respondents who indicated awareness of mobile money services (41%) were subsequently asked: How did you get to Know about Mobile Money services? Overall the major source of awareness about Mobile Money services as indicated by 36% of the respondents was “Bank”. This is followed by the “Media” (29%) and “Family and friends” (27%).

From the geo-political zones standpoint, the North-West (48%) and the North-Central (44%) zones accounted for the highest proportion of respondents that gained awareness on Mobile Money services through banks. Also, Majority of respondents who became aware through the Media were from the North-East zone with 47%.

Subsequently, in order to ascertain the level of adoption of Mobile Money services in Nigeria, respondents that are aware of mobile money services were further asked: Personally, do you use/have you ever used Mobile Money services?. Results show that the majority (87%) of the respondents who are aware of Mobile Money services have not yet adopted it, while 13% have adopted the services and out of these, respondents within the age category of 45-54 years (22%) had the highest level of adoption.

Gauging the level of adoption from geo-political zones revealed that the North-East zone (which had the lowest level of awareness as shown in figure 1) had the highest level of adoption with 31% this is followed by the North-Central zone with 19% and the South-South zonewith 11%.

Furthermore, respondents that have adopted Mobile Money services were asked: Who is your Mobile Money service provider?  The majority (86%) indicated “Banks” as their provider. This may be due to the fact that licenced banks have been given the responsibility to establish the services over Nigeria. Also, 12% indicated“Mobile Money agents” as their provider and 1% indicated other sources.

Analysis based on geo-political zones shows that all of the respondents (100%) from the North-East, North-West and the South-East zones that use Mobile Money indicated banks as their provider. In addition, theSouth-West zone (28%) had the highest proportion of respondents who indicated Mobile Money agents as their provider.

The fifth question aimed to determine the ratio of banked to unbanked users of Mobile Money. Respondents(13%) that use Mobile Money were asked: Do you operate a bank account?  Responses to this question revealed that all of the respondents (100%) that use Mobile Money services operate a bank account. This suggests that the level of awareness and adoption of Mobile Money services amongst unbanked Nigerians is currently very low and almost non-existent.

The sixth question sought to ascertain the proportion of users that operate their Mobile Money account in connection with their bank accounts: Is your Mobile Money account operated in connection with your bank account? Responses show that majority (93%) operate their Mobile Money account in connection with their bank account and 7% operate their Mobile Money account separately. This further affirms previous findings where the majority indicated banks as their provider.

Furthermore, to gain insight into the transactions users carry out on Mobile Money services, respondents were asked: What transactions do you use/have you used it for? The majority of Mobile Money users use it for“funds transfer” (65%) this is followed by bill payment (54%), Money Withdrawal (36%) and “Payment for purchased goods and services” (25%).

Analysis based on geopolitical zones revealed that The North-west zone (80%) had more respondents that carry out “Funds Transfer” on their Mobile Money account, the South-West zone (93%) accounted for the highest proportion of respondents that use their account for “Bills payment”. Also, the South-West zone(54%) had the highest number of respondents that use their account for Money withdrawal while the South-East zone (57%) accounted for the highest proportion of respondents that use their Mobile Money account for the “Payment for purchased goods and services”.

Subsequently, in order to gauge the general perception of users of Mobile Money services, users were asked: To what extent do you agree or disagree to the following statement about Mobile Money services? (a) It is easy to use; (b) Service providers are easily accessible; (c) It is secure; (d) It saves time; (e) It saves cost.

Findings reveal the majority agree (55%: 25%+30%) that the service is easy to use, on the other hand 38% (9%+29%) are of the opinion that the service is not easy to use.

In reference to the accessibility of service providers, the majority (55%: 21%+34%) agree that service provider are easily accessible. This finding may be directly linked to the fact that most users operate their Mobile Money account in connection with their bank account. At the same time, 39% (7%+32%) disagree with the statement.

Gauging the opinion of Nigerians in terms of the security, it is interesting to discover that the majority (56%: 13%+43%) agree that it is secure while 26% (6%+20%) of Mobile Money service users consider it unsecure to use.

A higher proportion of the respondents (60%: 33%+27%) that use Mobile Money affirmed that the use of Mobile Money in carrying financial transactions saves time, conversely 36% (4%+32%) do not agree.

The opinion of users about cost savings reveals that majority (63%: 16%+47%) are of the opinion the use of Mobile Money to carry out financial transaction saves cost. Comparatively, 36% do not agree that there is cost saving associated with the use of Mobile Money services.

The ninth question sought to ascertain the possibility of future adoption of Mobile Money by respondents who do not currently use Mobile Money (87% of the total). These respondents were asked: Do you think it’s something you would consider using in the future?  Findings shows that the majority (71%) indicated they are willing to give it a try in the future, while 17% will not consider its usage anytime in the future and 13%remain indecisive about using it.

Analysis base on geo-political zones showed that the North-East zone with 82% had the highest number of respondents indicated consideration of future use of Mobile Money services. This is followed by the North-West andthe South-East zones with 73% and 71% respectively.

In addition, results show an inverse relationship between age and the willingness to adopt mobile money services in the future therefore the younger the respondent the greater their willingness to adopt the use of mobile money services in the future.

Finally, in order to ascertain the rationale behind their willingness to adopt or not adopt mobile money services in the future, respondents were asked: Why do you think it’s something you would/would not consider using it in the future?

The overall majority (79%) are of the opinion that they would consider using Mobile Money in the future because it “it saves time; it is faster, simpler, easier and convenient to use”.  Furthermore, 13% are of the opinion that they think its something they would use in the future “if there is good awareness and better information”.

On the other hand, respondents that indicated they are not willing to use it in the future (17% of the total) gave reasons such as: “Don’t trust the safety/security/effectiveness” (46%), “Don’t need it, not interested” (30%) and “Don’t know about it” (12%).

In summary, the results from this current poll have revealed 6 in 10 Nigerians forming the majority have no prior knowledge about Mobile Money services. It has also been revealed that the adoption rate is very poor as only 13% of respondents that that are aware have actually used or adopted it. Furthermore, all respondents (100%) that use mobile money services operate a bank account and 93% operate their mobile money account in connection with their bank accountsThis shows that Mobile Money services have not had any impact on the financial inclusion of the unbanked Nigerians so far. Generally, mobile money users have had positive experiences indicating that it is easy to use, secure, saves cost and time. Finally, about 71% of non-users have indicated their willingness to use it in the future; this clearly shows the huge potential that exists  for mobile money services going forward. Given the fact that Nigeria is currently transitioning towards being a cashless payment systems, more awareness has to be created about the mobile money payment option with emphasis placed on including the rural population and unbanked Nigerians in the roll out process.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted on August 5th to 7th 2013. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1004 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise – within a range of plus or minus 3%. NOI Polls Limited is Nigeria’s leading opinion polling and research organisation, which works in technical partnership with the Gallup Organisation (USA), to conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at


This press release has been produced by NOI Polls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOI Polls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published.

NOI Polls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOI Polls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOI Polls’ current findings and/or thinking.


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