The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced a new policy on cash-based transactions which stipulates a cash handling charge on daily cash withdrawals that exceed N500,000 for Individuals and N3,000,000 for Corporate bodies. The new policy on cash-based transactions (withdrawals) in banks, aims at reducing (NOT ELIMINATING) the amount of physical cash (coins and notes) circulating in the economy, and encouraging more electronic-based transactions (payments for goods, services, transfers, etc.)
Why the Cash Policy?
- To drive development and modernization of our payment system in line with Nigerias vision 2020 goal of being amongst the top 20 economies by the year 2020. An efficient and modern payment system is positively correlated with economic development, and is a key enabler for economic growth.
- To reduce the cost of banking services (including cost of credit) and drive financial inclusion by providing more efficient transaction options and greater reach.
- To improve the effectiveness of monetary policy in managing inflation and driving economic growth.
- High cost of cash: There is a high cost of cash along the value chain – from the CBN & the banks, to corporations and traders; everyone bears the high costs associated with volume cash handling.
- High risk of using cash: Cash encourages robberies and other cash-related crimes. It also can lead to financial loss in the case of fire and flooding incidents.
- High subsidy: CBN analysis showed that only 10percent of daily banking transactions are above 150k, but the 10percent account for majority of the high value transactions. This suggests that the entire banking population subsidizes the costs that the tiny minority 10percent incur in terms of high cash usage.
- Informal Economy: High cash usage results in a lot of money outside the formal economy, thus limiting the effectiveness of monetary policy in managing inflation and encouraging economic growth.
- Inefficiency & Corruption: High cash usage enables corruption, leakages and money laundering, amongst other cash-related fraudulent activities.
Content of the Cash policy
- Only CIT licensed companies is allowed to provide cash pick-up services. Banks will cease cash in transit lodgment services rendered to merchant-customers in Lagos State from December 31st 2011. Any Bank that continues to offer cash in transit lodgment services to merchants shall be sanctioned.
- 3rd party cheques above N150, 000 shall not be eligible for encashment over the counter. Value for such cheques shall be received through the clearing house.
- The pilot was run in Lagos State from January 2012 while the policy took effect in Rivers, Anambra, Abia, Kano, Ogun and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on the 1st July, 2013. The policy will be implemented nationwide on July 1st, 2014.
- Account Application
- The cash-policy applies to all accounts with exception to Government revenue generation account, Primary Mortgage Institutions, Microfinance Banks and Embassies. Banks should therefore work with their corporate customers to arrange for suitable e-collection options.
- The limits are cumulative daily limits each for withdrawal(e.g. for Individuals, the daily free withdrawal limit is N500,000)
- The limits apply to the account so far as it involves cash, irrespective of channel (e.g. over the counter, ATM, 3rd party cheques encashed over the counter, etc) in which cash is withdrawn (e.g. if an individual withdraws N450,000 over the counter, and N150,000 from the ATM on the same day, the total amount withdrawn by the customer is N600,000, and the service charge will apply on N100,000 – the amount above the daily free limit). The limit also applies to cash brought through CIT companies, as the CIT company only serves as a means of transportation.
- The charges started to apply from March 30th 2012 in Lagos, October 1st 2013 in Rivers, Abia, Anambra, Ogun, Kano and the FCT.
- The service charge for daily withdrawals above the limit into an account shall be borne by the account holder.
- Please note that the policy does not prohibit withdrawals above the stipulated amounts, but that such transactions will be subject to cash handling charges.
Expected Benefits of the New Cash Policy
- For Consumers: Increased convenience; more service options; reduced risk of cash-related crimes; cheaper access to (out-of-branch) banking services, access to credit and financial inclusion.
- For Corporations: Faster access to capital; reduced revenue leakage; and reduced cash handling costs.
- For Government:Increased tax collections; greater financial inclusion; increased economic development. Increased tax collections; greater financial inclusion; increased economic development.