Nigeria is making steady progress towards becoming a cashless society as the value of electronic payment in the country in 2006 stood at 360 billion naira (about 2. 81 billion U.S. dollars).
There has been a very modest move from cash in Nigeria. But since the advantages of cash diminish as the value of transactions increases, the use of non-cash payments is rising and increasing in value.
According to Mitchell Elegbe, managing director of Interswitch, a leading transaction switching and electronic payment processing company in Nigeria, said that over 3,900 Point of Sales (POS) terminals were deployed in 18 months, which is set to double in the next six months while over 2,300 Live Automated Teller Machines (ATM) were installed in the next 12 months.
In fact, the growth in non-cash payment has been seriously supported by the advancement in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Nigeria and elsewhere in the world.
Nowadays online purchasing the world over is becoming as common and convenient as ordering by telephone, fax or directly from the store. Even though it has not become a very popular form of trading in Nigeria, people are increasingly demanding a quicker and more efficient way of making their purchases than going to the traditional outlets and to take advantage of the time and cost saving as obtained from buying online.
In Nigeria which has seen a rapid economic growth as a result of reforms of last administrations especially in the banking sector, new frontiers are opening up in the area of e-commerce with an increased acceptance of e-commerce initiatives.
Indicators of success for e-commerce initiatives which include consumerism, large population and mobile flow of capital are areas where Nigeria has an advantage and so e-commerce has the potential to be successful in the Nigeria economic growth.
In the meantime, the Nigerian government is working endlessly to curb the menace of cyber crime by the institution of an organization called the Nigerian Cyber Crime Working Group. This organization is responsible for creating a legal and institutional framework for securing computer systems and networks in Nigeria and protecting critical information infrastructures in the country.
With the emergence of such an organization, websites or e- commerce sites in Nigeria like whogobuy.com, enownow.com, naira. com, karakata.com and over2u.com have now started seeing a steady rise in the use of their site for purchases including airtime, music download, goods and services including subscription to articles, journals or jobs database as is seen on enownow.com.
As the e-payments solutions become more available to consumers, e-commerce has now gained more acceptances in Nigeria as a result of awareness of new and advanced security features of cards.
Nigerian consumers can now take advantage of goods and service the global market offers and to open new and profitable markets for local goods and services without the fear of compromising their cards or accounts.