Does Paga really have 9 million unique users?


Paga Staff

The name Paga is not new in Nigeria’s Cyberspace, Paga is Nigeria’s pioneering and leading mobile money transfer provider.

Recently in a blog post on Medium, Paga celebrated having 9 million unique users on its mobile payment platform, up from 8 million users just in January 2018.

Talking about Unique Users, according to Paga ‘Unique users’ includes everyone that has transacted on the payment platform, either through its agent network or self-transaction.

Paga uses mobile numbers as a unique identifier. If someone that’s not registered on the payment platform uses an agent for any financial services, Paga recognises the person’s mobile number once and it does not count for future transactions.

However, using two different mobile numbers for separate transactions with the same or different agents would record you as two unique users.

This is a great feat for one of the top mobile money operators in the country. But recent figures from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) question this claim.

What NIBSS Report says

Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) Plc. was incorporated in 1993 and is owned by all licensed banks including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The collaborate with all Nigerian Banks, Card schemes, Processors, Payment Terminal Service Providers (PTSPs), Mobile Money Operators (MMO), to facilitate payments finalities, streamlining Inter-bank payments and settlement mechanisms, to drive and promote Electronic Payments across the Nigerian Financial Industry.

NIBSS reports that there were 1.5 million customers (PDF) in the mobile money industry as at March 2018.

Mobile Money operations as at March 2018
Mobile Money operations as at March 2018

From the report above, the Total number of Mobile Money Customers is 1.50 Million, with 5,304 registered Mobile Money Agents.

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According to the Enterprise Intelligence Unit of NIBSS, the figures in its Q1 report are as provided by CBN.

Worthy of note is that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) categorises Pagatech — the parent company of Paga — as a non-bank led (commercial licence) mobile money operator. It can be concluded that customers on Paga are considered in the statistics provided by the CBN.

Speaking recently during the private launching of the app, Paga founder and CEO, Tayo Oviosu affirmed that there are 1.6 million active users on the platform.

The big question; where did CBN get its figures from?

If with 9.1 million unique users, there are 1.6 million active users on Paga, it can be assumed that the reported 8 million users translate to a 1.406 million active users in March 2018.

Even on the assumption that the 1.5 million users as quoted by the CBN are the active customers in Q1, it still questions Paga’s current active users, as it is not the only mobile payment platform in Nigeria.


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