The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a new directive to banks that any failed Nigerian Instant Payment transaction not reversed into the customer’s account within 24 hours, based on complaint of the sender and/or beneficiary will attract a fine of N10,000.
The CBN stated this in a ‘Circular on the regulation on instant inter-bank electronic funds transfer services in Nigeria’, issued to all Deposit Money Banks, microfinance banks, other financial institutions, mobile money operators, development finance institutions, payment service providers and other stakeholders.
It also stated that delayed application of inward NIP into beneficiary’s accounts beyond four minutes would attract a penalty fee of N10,000 per item.
The CBN stated, “The sanctions above and any other prescribed in the Nigeria Bankers’ Clearing System rules or any amendment thereto, shall apply.”
An electronic funds transfer or an NIP, according to the apex bank, happens between two distinct entities when delivery from the sending entity to the receiving entity takes place within one minute (60 seconds), while a payments system where delivery to the receiving entity occurs beyond one minute is considered to be an ACH system.
An EFT service provider is said to be a company or financial institution licensed by the CBN to do the business of facilitating EFT services in partnership with sending and receiving entities.
The draft indicated that where a sending entity erroneously sent value contrary to the customer’s instructions due to wrong account number, wrong amount, duplication among others to a receiving entity and requested the reversal in writing within 14 working days of the transaction, the receiving entity should oblige within one business day without recourse to the customer (beneficiary) of the receiving entity provided funds were available.
An automatic indemnity would be inferred against the sending entity making the reversal request, it stated.
Where funds were not available, it added, the receiving entity should immediately notify its customer that the account was wrongly credited and provide proof of such notification to the sending entity.
It added that the receiving entity should notify the customer about the consequences of not funding the account within 24 hours, which included watch-listing in the banking industry, credit bureau and reporting to law enforcement agencies.
In the circular, the receiving entity would watch-list the customer if he failed to provide funds within seven days, the CBN stated.
“The receiving entity shall refund the transaction as soon as funds are either partially or fully available,” it stated.