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CBN to fine banks’ frustrating reversal of failed e-payments after 24 hours

Latest directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to all commercial banks on automatic 24 hours reversal of any failed digital transfer has received tremendous accolades from millions of Nigerians.
In a ‘Circular on the regulation on instant inter-bank electronic funds transfer services in Nigeria’, issued to all Deposit Money Banks, microfinance banks, other financial institutions, mobile money operators, development finance institutions, payment service providers and other stakeholders, financial institutions must effect reversal based on complaint of the sender and/or beneficiary of face a fine of N10,000.
CBN also added that any delayed application of inward NIP into beneficiary’s accounts beyond four minutes would attract a penalty fee of N10,000 per item.
According to the circular, “The sanctions above and any other prescribed in the Nigeria Bankers’ Clearing System rules or any amendment thereto, shall apply.”
An electronic funds transfer or an NIP happens between two distinct entities when delivery from the sending entity to the receiving entity takes place within one minute (60 seconds), while a payments system where delivery to the receiving entity occurs beyond one minute is considered to be an ACH system.
An EFT service provider is said to be a company or financial institution licensed by the CBN to do the business of facilitating EFT services in partnership with sending and receiving entities.
The draft indicated that where a sending entity erroneously sent value contrary to the customer’s instructions due to wrong account number, wrong amount, duplication among others to a receiving entity and requested the reversal in writing within 14 working days of the transaction, the receiving entity should oblige within one business day without recourse to the customer (beneficiary) of the receiving entity provided funds were available.
CBN added further that an automatic indemnity would be inferred against the sending entity making the reversal request, it stated.
Where funds were not available, it added, the receiving entity should immediately notify its customer that the account was wrongly credited and provide proof of such notification to the sending entity.
It added that the receiving entity should notify the customer about the consequences of not funding the account within 24 hours, which included watch-listing in the banking industry, credit bureau and reporting to law enforcement agencies.
CBN also noted that the receiving entity would watch-list the customer if he failed to provide funds within seven days.