CBN lifts restriction on Moniepoint, Opay, others

The Central Bank of Nigeria has lifted its ban on onboarding new customers imposed on five prominent fintech startups: Paga, OPay, Kuda, Palmpay, and Moniepoint, with immediate effect.

This comes after the expiration of a May 31 deadline given to the fintechs to meet specific compliance requirements.

In April, fintechs were asked to suspend account opening for new customers due to Know Your Customers issues. This directive was also connected to an ongoing clampdown on Peer-to-Peer cryptocurrency transactions in the country

At the time of their suspension, the affected fintechs warned customers to desist from crypto transactions on their platforms because they were obliged to report such activities.

A source explained that the restriction affected fintechs’ ability to onboard new customers, impacting their operations. Confirming the development, OPay told customers through its X handle, “We are thrilled to announce that the Central Bank of Nigeria has given OPay the thumbs up to resume onboarding new users.”

The fintech reiterated that it strictly adhered to the approved KYC verification process and urged its customers to ensure that the due verification process is followed for all their accounts.

The ban lift comes after the Central Bank of Nigeria disclosed that its restriction on fintechs may last for months. Olayemi Cardoso, the CBN governor, revealed at the 295th Monetary Policy Committee that the affected fintech firms would resume enrolling new customers in a couple of months.

“I am confident that as time goes on, and hopefully in another couple of months, all these will be something of the past, and then you will see that sector going back into what they’ve been known to do before, but certainly with a very stronger regulatory framework,” he said.

According to the CBN boss, the apex bank engaged with many players regarding the need to strengthen their operations, and the directive was part of actions to block money laundering and illicit flows.

The recent restriction on fintechs might be part of renewed efforts to strengthen regulation governing the space. “Regulation is very critical in a sector that seems to have grown so incredibly rapidly,” Cardoso emphasised during the MPC meeting.

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