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Telcos vs Banks: Easter Gift For Fintechs or Not?

On April 2, 2021, Nigerian customers of telecom giant MTN for a short while could no longer buy airtime from their banks using the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) codes. It would have been the biggest Fool’s Day prank of the decade in Nigeria if it had happened on the 1st of April.

According to reports, Nigeria’s biggest telco by far, MTN had reduced the commission for banks from an average of 4.5% to 2.5% after months of negotiation and this did not go down well with the banks who flatly rejected this.

Will this showdown bring forth a new era for FinTechs? Has this showdown opened up Pandora’s box? Will the Nigerian vision 2040 goal of achieving 90% financial inclusion be a dream in wonderland or is the recent shakeup a glimpse that we are close?

Stanley Onuorah, popular on Social Media as Online Banker, provides answers to these questions.

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