IN line with its commitment to promote a strong and credible payment system, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved new licence categorizations for the payments system.

The new licensing framework available on its website, offers clarity for new and existing market participants given the significant evolution and innovation in the Nigerian payments system.

According to the apex bank, “All payment service providers and other stakeholders are invited to note the following in this regard: Payments system licensing has been streamlined according to permissible activities in four broad categories; Switching and Processing; Mobile Money Operations (MMos) Payment Solution Services (PSSs); Regulatory Sandbox.”

The apex bank further stated that only MMOs are permitted to hold customer funds and companies with licences within any of the other categories are not permitted to hold customer funds.

“Companies seeking to combine activities under the Switching and MMO categories are only permitted to operate under a holding company structure with the subsidiary entities clearly delineated to prevent commingling. Payments system companies in the PSS category may hold any of PSSP. PTSP and Super Agents licence or a combination of the licences thereof.

“All licensed payment service providers in any of the categories covered by this framework holding or seeking any other CBN issued licences are required to obtain a no-objection from the Payments System Management Department. The object clauses in the Memorandum and Articles of Association of Payment Service Providers shall be limited to the permissible activities under their licensing authorizations,” it stated.

In terms of collaborations between licensed payment companies, the CBN noted that banks and other financial institutions in respect of products and services are subject to CBN’s prior approval.

“All new licensing requests including those with Approvals-in-Principle are to comply with the new requirements immediately. Existing licensed payment companies are to comply with the new licensing requirements where applicable not later than end-June 2021.

“All payment service providers and stakeholders in the payments system are required to ensure strict compliance with these requirements and all other payment system regulations. The CBN will continue to monitor developments in the payments system and issue guidance as may be appropriate,” the apex banking sector regulator stated.