An Overview of the Electronic Banking System in Nigeria: Challenges and the way forward.
The Nigerian banking system is one that has experienced a drastic change. Prior to this time, we had in place a manual banking system which occasioned much hardship on individuals. A notable example is an instance where an individual’s presence was of high essence before a transaction could be completed and amongst other challenges.
However, in our present time, the Nigerian banking system has evolved from this stage to the technological stage which is electronic banking, also known as E-Banking. This article addresses the meaning of electronic banking, its classifications, the challenges arising from its use in Nigeria and the way forward.
The Meaning of Electronic Banking.
An erudite scholar, Dr Jake Otu Enyia defined electronic banking as a generic term encompassing other specific terms such as internet-banking, online banking, mobile banking, e-payment, e-cash, e-money, digital-cash, e-cheque, etc.
In other words, e-banking may mean a method of transacting modern banking business through the use of automated processes and electronic devices such as computers, telex and fax machines, the internet, card payments, automated teller machines, telephone and other media.
Classifications of Electronic Banking.
Electronic banking system is classified into two and they include the network based and the non-network based electronic banking system. We shall consider briefly these two classifications:
1) Non-Network based: This form of electronic banking requires the customers physical presence at the point of service. The Automated Teller Machine (A.T.M) and smart cards are examples of non-network based.
2) Network-based- The Internet, telephone network are involved in this form of electronic banking. Banking transactions could be carried out anywhere in the world. Examples of network-based electronic banking are Electronic fund Transfer (EFT), Telephone Banking (Tele Banking), Mobile Banking (M-banking), Personal Computer (PC Banking) and so on.
Challenges Confronting Electronic Banking
The E-Banking system in Nigeria is one that has encountered numerous challenges since its inception. We shall, however, note and shall address the key challenges that have bedevilled the E-Banking system in Nigeria. They are as follows;
- Non-existence of legislation.
There is neither an act of the National Assembly or law of the house of assembly enabling Electronic banking. This has given rise to seeming difficulty of individuals being unable to approach the court for redress as some of their actions may be unfounded and brought pursuant to no law.
It should be noted that there is an existence of regulations on Electronic banking as contained in the central bank of Nigeria guidelines on E-banking issued in August 2003, as well as standard and guidelines on ATM, issued in 2010 which are widely criticized as being inadequate.
There are also the Banks and other financial institutions Act 2010, Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2010 and the Evidence Act 2011 to mention a few. However, these laws and acts were not enacted purposely to be on electronic banking, but they indirectly impact on electronic banking in one way or the other.
- Erratic power supply
It remains a fact of common knowledge that the Nigerian electricity supply system is epileptic. The standard is low and this affects the banking system. Electronic devices like the ATM which need a 24/7 power supply is deprived of such by the epileptic power supply. This poses financial losses for banks, which spend millions daily to keep electronic devices running.
- Computer illiteracy
The societal structure of Nigeria witnesses the overwhelming rise rather than decrease in the level of illiteracy generally. A society highly bitten by illiteracy can hardly cope with the sophistry of electronic banking. Even those who have acquired good academic certification are computer illiterates. Thus, in a society wallowing in illiteracy, the operation of electronic banking can’t hold water or stand the test of time.
Prospects of Electronic Banking
In the words of Ada Adams, “There is a light at the end of every tunnel”. Therefore, there is hope for electronic banking in Nigeria. It must be understood that there is no technological invention without challenges. In order to curb the challenges of electronic banking, the Government, Family and corporate personalities all have a role to play.
Role of the Government: Society cannot function without a set of persons bestowed with the role of making laws and regulating activities in the society. It is the sole responsibility of the government to regulate and provide security and other basic amenities to its citizens, when these duties are not effectuated, there will be disequilibrium in the society.
The provision of quality education to the citizens like the introduction of information and communication technology in the school curriculum will enhance a decline in the level of computer illiteracy in the country thereby making workable the E-banking system.
The law making arm of government should wake up and perform its duties. A bill on electronic banking should be proposed and passed into law so that there will be enough legislations to curb the challenges that has bedevilled electronic banking.
Corporate Role – The bank also has a pivotal role to play in mitigating the challenges of electronic banking. Inexperienced workers should not be allowed to operate electronic devices; adequate training should be given to electronic banking device operators and their supervisors.
There is also a rush on bankers to edge over rivals competing for patronage. Therefore, thorough scrutiny of the electronic device is needed before installation; this will eradicate challenges in future.
Role of the Family
Cyber-crime and banking malpractices are amongst the challenges of electronic banking. In order to curb this menace effectively, the family as a unit is the grass root for the reformation of individuals. A good moral upbringing births a sane society.
It is my recommendation that legislation on electronic banking is made swiftly; also, Information and Communication Technology should be incorporated into the curriculum of our academic institutions in Nigeria so that every individual in Nigeria will be acquainted with the knowledge of the computer and its mode of operation.
Oringo Bamidele Gabriel is a Law student at the University of Calabar. He is a legal researcher and writer who currently serve as the Director of Research, Roots Associates, a student Chamber in the University of Calabar. He is also an officer in The Ministry of Justice, Students’ Union Government, and University of Calabar and has interest in Entertainment Law, Environmental Law, Criminal Law, Intellectual Property, etc.
Oringo Bamidele Gabriel can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org