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Airtel Africa, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services with a presence in 14 countries across Africa, has launched SmartCash Payment Service Bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary, to provide secure and reliable financial services across Nigeria

Headquartered in Lagos, it is accepting deposits from individuals and small businesses, carrying out payment and remittance services within Nigeria, and issuing debit and prepaid cards, among other banking services. SmartCash also enables person-to-person payment and transfers from across the world. The service is currently available at selected retail touchpoints.

Plans are underway to expand the innovative, technology-driven services to all parts of the country, including the furthest and most remote, in an effort to accelerate financial inclusion for all Nigerians. The launch follows the granting of a licence by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Already, SmartCash targets reaching the 36.8% unbanked adult population in Nigeria, as estimated by the Access to Financial Services in Nigeria report.

Airtel Africa’s group chief executive officer, Segun Ogunsanya said, “The launch of SmartCash Payment Service Bank gives us fresh impetus at Airtel Africa, to continue growing our footprint in the continent and delivering innovative solutions. In the bank, we have the best of both worlds – a hybrid of commercial bank and mobile financial services – offering last mile connection to the financially excluded. Through it, we want to contribute towards driving financial inclusion in Nigeria, to empower Nigerians while transforming the payment landscape in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.’’

The chief executive officer and managing director of SmartCash Payment Service Bank, Muyiwa Ebitanmi, said, “Through SmartCash Payment Services Bank, we aim to bridge the financial divide by providing rural and urban Nigerians access to innovative, highly secured and reliable banking services that are powered by technology and are relevant to their needs”.