KPMG reports 30% drop in ATM usage over naira scarcity

The scarcity of cash in circulation has made the weekly usage of Automated Teller Machines to drop from 70 per cent to 40 per cent, according to a report by KPMG.

The report, titled, “In Pursuit Value”, stated that the figures were obtained from surveyed customers of Nigerian and Ghanaian banks who narrated their experiences during the year 2023.

According to the survey, ATM usage in Nigeria has witnessed a notable decline due to the regular unavailability of cash in many bank ATM stands.

The multinational consulting firm further stated that medium digital transactions dropped from the top to outside the top 10 in the survey, indicating cash dependence on Point of Sales operators.

It stated, “Currently, four in 10 customers report weekly ATM usage, a notable decline from the previous seven in 10 over the last few years. This decline in ATM usage coincides with a significant rise in agency banking usage, with six in 10 customers frequenting bank agents every week.”

The report further noted that the rise in agency banking emphasises the continued popularity of cash, underscoring customers’ quest for more readily available cash options, primarily driven by the popularity of bank agents across the nation.

Furthermore, the survey disclosed that payment via digital mediums rose by 52 per cent in 2023 between January and October, according to NIBSS data.

It said that the spike in digital payments was triggered by the cash crunch, occasioned by the CBN’s naira redesign policy in the first quarter of 2023.

It stated, “Consequently, digital payments surged, marking a notable 52% increase in total NIBSS Instant Payment transactions by October 2023 compared to January of the same year. This was triggered by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s initiative to overhaul the Naira, aiming to regulate cash circulation and reduce reliance on physical currency.”

In October 2022, the Central Bank of Nigeria announced its move to redesign the naira and encourage cashless transactions in the country.

The policy which was badly implemented led to a decline in economic activities, causing pains and grief to Nigerians.

It further explained that the rise in digital payment overwhelmed Tier-1 banks with multiple cases of transaction failure but fintechs rose to the challenge leading to a significant change in customers’ preferences.

According to the survey, 58 per cent of respondents switched banks or had reasons to change to fintechs during the period. This presents a radical shift from the 15 per cent who switched banks in 2022.

Also, around 13 per cent of retail banking respondents now rely on fintech for their primary banking needs from the four per cent who made the switch in 2022.