Naira Scarcity: Increased online transactions crash banking apps, leave customers stranded

Naira Scarcity: Increased online transactions crash banking apps, leave customers stranded

Mobile apps of several Nigerian banks are currently under serious pressure as more Nigerians are forced to carry out online transactions due to the scarcity of the new naira notes. 

Nairametrics gathered that the development has led to some of the banking apps crashing.

Since the beginning of this week, customers of major banks in the country have been having unpleasant experiences while trying to transfer funds or perform any form of transaction on their mobile apps. Many Nigerians have now become stranded due to the non-availability of cash in ATMs and even over the counter, while transactions over the apps have become a nightmare.

While in many cases, the apps do not open at all, in cases where they open, making a transfer becomes impossible. In other instances where the customer can transfer, the intended receiver does not get credited and this becomes a problem.

Aside from the apps, pressure has also been on the USSD, which is an alternative transaction channel, leading to an increase in failed transactions over the channel

Nigerians lament: A bank customer, Olawale Samuel, who spoke to Nairametrics, said he has not been able to open his banking app since Wednesday. Sharing his experience, he said:

“After I had tried to withdraw cash from the ATM without success, I approached the PoS woman in my area, even though I heard they now charge N500 to give you N5,000 and I was ready to pay that to buy what I needed and have some cash in my pocket. Unfortunately, she said she no longer has cash as well. I went to the shop where I wanted to buy something and made a purchase of N2,000 with the hope of paying through transfer, my app refused to open and I had to return what I bought. This is frustrating. I have been trying to open my app since yesterday and until now, I keep getting an error message each time I try.”

Another bank customer who identified himself as Chuks said his attempt to buy a recharge card on his bank app failed and the money has not been reversed since Monday. He said:

“I tried to buy a recharge card on my app just because I couldn’t get cash from the ATM and even inside the bank, the transaction showed that it was successful but it’s almost 5 days now, and I have not seen the card, and neither was my money reversed. 

Taking to tweeter to lament, another bank customer identified as Awele tweeted:

“Why can’t I access my app and USSD code? Why are you guys frustrating us and making it look like it is not our money that we want to collect? Why? It’s not just stressful but disappointing.”

Nairametrics also gathered that some companies are finding it very difficult to pay their staff January salaries as a result of the glitches in the banking system affecting transfers.

Need for upgrades: An official of one of the new generation banks in Nigeria, who spoke with Nairametrics on condition of anonymity said several banking apps in the country would need to be upgraded to withstand the level of current traffic being witnessed.

“The current level of traffic we are having on apps is unprecedented and it is understandable because there is no cash, people have to use the next available means, which is the mobile app. Unfortunately, many bank apps in Nigeria do not have the capacity for the number of transactions we are witnessing at the same time right now. And this is why we have been having issues. 
“At this point, all banks will need to upgrade their apps’ capacity. We are already doing that on our end but it’s not something that can bring immediate respite. Things may have to get worse before it gets better because in the process of an upgrade, the customers will not be able to use their apps and this worsens the experience.”



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