In a move that can be described as a boost for the nation’s financial inclusion drive, Firstmonie the mobile payment solution from First Bank of Nigeria Ltd has just recently secured a grant of $12million US dollars from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The charitable purpose of the foundation’s grant is to help deepen the penetration of Firstmonie mobile financial services in Nigeria to the underbanked and low income communities, an essential contribution to the goal of driving financial inclusion in Nigeria. The funds will be disbursed in tranches attached to performance milestones. Firstmonie, FirstBank’s mobile payment solutions, enables subscribers to send and receive money, pay bills, buy airtime, and make sundry purchases in Nigeria without owning a bank account and at a price that is affordable to unbanked customers. The platform also supports wealth creation by providing opportunities for thousands of entrepreneurs across the nation and encourages financial inclusion through the availability of banking services for the unbanked and under-banked.
According to the Head, Mobile Financial Services, for FirstBank, Mr. Mike Ogbalu, the rigorous process of securing the foundation grant included a review of our business strategy, target market outreach plans, agent site visits and interviews. “The Firstmonie platform which facilitates the entry of the unbanked and under-banked population into the financial system offers an excellent medium for subscribers to disburse funds efficiently and securely to their loved ones across the nation and with the grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we aim to facilitate the process of scaling up the Firstmonie product offerings and ensuring that there is a substantial decrease in the population of the unbanked and under banked in Nigeria.” he said.
Firstmonie is designed to enhance financial inclusion and cater for millions of Nigeria’s unbanked citizens, as well as align with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s policy to promote a cashless or cash-lite economy in Nigeria. The Firstmonie solution was provided to entrench e-banking through the use of the mobile phone and mitigate the challenges of banking services delivery to the vast unbanked market. FirstMonie has been involved in several notable initiatives which include: The UNICEF Fund Disbursement Scheme, The Osun Youth Empowerment Scheme (OYES) and The Lagos Barbering, Hairdressing and Cosmetology Association (LABHCA) Project. For persons wishing to use the Firstmonie service, it is open to subscribers of all major GSM networks across the nation and registration is initiated by dialing *894# and following the prompts. Alternatively, subscribers can sign up online at https://www.Firstmonie.com/iweb or at any Firstmonie agent location nationwide.