Opay to Verify Existing Users’ Addresses as CBN Eases Restrictions on Mobile Money Operators

Governor Cardoso expressed confidence that the new measures will improve the mobile money sector and allow it to resume its previous growth trajectory. He expects the enrolment freeze to be lifted "in another couple of months" after the implementation of these stricter KYC and AML protocols.

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Nigerian fintech companies like Opay, Palmpay, Kuda Bank, and Moniepoint will soon be able to accept new customers again. This comes after a temporary freeze imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in April 2024.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will also be introducing stricter Know-Your-Customer (KYC) procedures for mobile money operators. This includes a new requirement for Opay to verify the physical addresses of existing users.

Opay staff will be visiting users in person to confirm their locations. To ensure user safety, Opay has emphasized the importance of verifying the identity of any Opay staff who come for verification purposes.

Staff will carry official identification, such as Opay ID cards or General Agent Platform credentials. Concerns about money laundering and illicit activities within the mobile money sector prompted all these new changes.

The CBN’s earlier decision to halt new customer onboarding for mobile money operators stemmed from an audit of their KYC practices. Analysts believe the CBN was concerned that some fintech companies might facilitate money laundering or terrorist financing.

Following the CBN’s announcement, Opay and other platforms banned cryptocurrency transactions on their platforms to comply with the CBN’s directives, and many believed that CBN was just simply targeting OPay and Kuda.

To address this, Governor Cardoso stressed that the new regulations are necessary for a rapidly growing sector and are not meant to stifle innovation.

The CBN’s primary focus is to ensure the mobile money sector operates within a robust regulatory framework that combats money laundering and illicit financial flows.

The governor then assured Nigerians that the mobile money sector will resume normal operations “in another couple of months” after the new measures are implemented.

He emphasized that the CBN is working with fintech companies to strengthen their onboarding processes and customer verification systems.

CBN has not revoked any licenses of fintech companies, yet. The temporary freeze on new customer onboarding was a measure to improve KYC procedures and does not signify a shutdown of the mobile money sector.

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