mCash - Round Two


So NIBSS has decided to breath life back into its failing mCash product. Two years after its initial launch, the regulator cum operator (or put more simply, elephant that believes it is a fox) has decided to re-launch its USSD payment platform to help petty traders and those without cards “enjoy payments”.

This is going to be interesting.

You can read about the euphoria during the Round One launch here - Any thoughts on NIBSS' new mCASH product?


Micro payments.

I think if they focused on the real micro payment segment, they would have succeeded in building a sticky base of customers; merchants and other users. Their low value retail targets shouldn’t start with market women, or road side merchants. It, rather ends with them. The real micro payment segment is on the web.

They need another layer to mCash to enable merchants process transactions online. The need for digital products will continue to grow. Easy, cardless channels like mCash can do to online payments what 737 did to peer-to-peer bank transactions.

But they’ll need to get GTBank on board though.


Hey brother - long time no see. I trust you are well.

Can you expatiate a bit on this statement. Where are the micropayment opportunities on the web? Newspapers come to mind i.e. pay-per-premium-content, but they seem to have foreclosed on that opportunity in favour of ads. Perhaps rightly so.

I’m curious to know how you see micropayments playing out on the web.


Am good bro. Go drop by one of these days.
My thinking, all the while was MTN music plus. Has made billions so far, arguably MTN’s fastest growing product. Very center stage for them this year.

But if am honest, i don’t think it counts because music plus is a very recent success with the full excesses of an MNO behind it.

To shift my position correctly, “The real micro payment segment remains Mobile”. Obviously.

So certain transactional monopoly held by telcos can be easily shifted by mCash. VAS supported services and everything inbtw thrives on micro billing;
- 30 naira to enter a virtual draw.
- 50 naira to download a music track.
- 100 naira to hold a stake on soccer odds.

The battle ground has been rev share formulae with the telcos. Add VAS concerns as the middle men who 99% of independent content owners must go through to terminate a billing gateway, it becomes daylight robbery.

In many cases, the VAS companies have content production arms that churn out all kinds of services, throw it at the telcos to see what sticks. There’s no place for indie content owners in the present VAS dominated setting, so they’ve all but disappeared.

Hence if mCash targeted these segments domaintaed by VAS whether on the web or purely on mobile, they’d have gathered the base they need to keep mainstream. And their sell is very charming as far as content owners are concerned, as opposed to 15 - 20% rev share with the telcos, a 100% revenue keep-all sounds definitely more generous. They can commit to more quality products.

We tried launching a paid podcast platform for radio OAPs last year, had to scrap it at 70% completion, heard MTN was launching the same service by the VAS partners looking to offer us mobile payment gateways as a result they couldn’t compete with themselves. An mCash for web would have kept us confident enough to try come what may from MTN.

- I mean we had OAPs, they will do their own marketing, we really just needed to curate enough content worth paying btw a 50 - 200 naira weekly subscription for. And boy these OAPs love a side hussle.


This is solid analysis mate. Radar may not be so dead after all.

I think the reason mCash didn’t do so is the same reason why it failed the first time. NIBSS strikes me as a very underwhelming company that lacks creativity, or to paraphrase the late great Steve Jobs “…the problem with [them] is that they lack taste”. The product may be technically strong but as with any boardroom creation, it is a product crying out for a passionate lover.

I think the real solution to micro-payments is coming soon and it will look a lot like WePay but adapted to work on feature phones. As @asemota once quipped, a cashless platform needs to be like cash to beat cash. Essentially it means the transactions must

  1. transfer value in offline situations
  2. complete in 5 - 10 seconds
  3. transfer value that can be reused elsewhere immediately

I think the upcoming disruption will completely sidestep the CBN and will succeed principally because it isn’t regulated, and I’m not referring to the “solution looking for a problem” otherwise known as cryptocurrency.


Long live radar! Only on will you read something like this.


I am also awaiting 87_Chuks response to this enquiry!


but isn’t the nigerian web payments sector already too competitive now? there are so many payments startup i’m not sure how another one will make another difference. Can you expantiate on what you mean as mcash for the web?


This reminds me of something i read today on FT.

“Dominant organisations are prone to stumble when the new technology requires a new organisational structure. An innovation might be radical but, if it fits the structure that already existed, an incumbent firm has a good chance of carrying its lead from the old world to the new.”