Like several African countries, Nigeria has had a thriving payments landscape. Since the turn of the millennium, major players in Nigeria’s payment space have managed to ride the innovation wave to provide more reliable customer payments. And today, the country has an industry that facilitates trillions in payments across individual and corporate transactions.

Lending insights into this evolution, Zone – a blockchain-based payment infrastructure service – has recently shared its Nigeria Payments Report, which lends insights into Nigeria’s fledgling payment landscape and its continued evolution.

The Rise Of Contactless Payments:

Kicking off the next wave of payment evolution is contactless payments. This payment system doesn’t require customers to run payment cards through machines.

Contactless payments accounted for 20% of in-person credit and debit card payments in the United States as of 2022. And in an emerging market like Nigeria, this rise is expected to continue.

Primarily, contactless payments require customers to hover their cards or devices that are close to payment terminals. Customers might be required to tap the devices briefly – a phenomenon known as “tap to pay.”

As the Nigeria Payment Report shows, contactless payments could be a natural evolutionary step as traditional card-based payments continue to decline. And with improvements in standard QR codes, contactless payments could become faster and more seamless.

That said, there could be consequences to this. If contactless payments become the standard, several fintechs could face an existential threat to their business models. At the same time, the once-thriving super-agent business could also see its margins drop significantly, leading to industry players diversifying their operations to enhance their business models.

Understanding the Mobile Wallet Revolution

Mobile wallets have also become a huge mainstay in Nigeria’s digital payments landscape. As the Nigeria Payments Report shows, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reported a total volume of 1.59 billion ATM transactions in 2021 – a volume which dropped to 1.51 billion the following year.

Conversely, total transaction values surged, growing from ₦21.23 trillion in 2021 to ₦32.64 trillion in 2022. This 53.78% growth in transaction values, as the report states, shows the increased popularity of digital payments – particularly mobile wallets and PoS terminals.

Primarily, mobile wallets are seen as safer and more convenient. And in a market where speed is everything, these wallets are expected to only grow in popularity across Nigeria going forward.

Blockchain & Decentralized Technology Innovations

Finally, Nigeria’s payment landscape has also seen the emergence of blockchain technology.

Buoyed by the growing popularity of digital currencies amongst the country’s teeming young population, blockchain has been able to gain a massive foothold in Nigeria. However, besides just powering what many believe to be the future of money, blockchain also helps power several aspects of payments, decentralizing the entire processing step and providing a viable alternative for traditional processors.

Zone Network has emerged as a major player in this field. The company has developed Africa’s first layer-1 blockchain payment solution, serving a total of over 20 banks and financial institutions. Earlier this year, the company reported processing over $1 million daily for tier-1 banks, with an expanded network of lower-tier banking institutions and fintechs also in its repertoire.

With blockchain, payments become faster, more secure, and more reliable. The technology also offers use cases such as fraud prevention and risk mitigation, providing a payment landscape where settlements are done near-instantly.

The cost-benefit also comes into play here. Blockchain technology allows for all of these benefits to be achieved at incredibly low costs, allowing players and payment processors to operate at higher margins, while still delivering better levels of reliability to their customer base. 


The Zone Nigeria Payments Report paints a picture of a vibrant payment landscape for Nigeria. As the country appears to be facing an inflection point, digital payments are changing, with a plethora of new technologies taking centre stage across the board.

More insights into the payment environment can be found in the report, and you can download the full copy here.

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