Mobile money refers to financial services accessed and delivered through mobile devices such as phones, tablets, and mobile internet devices. In recent years, there has been a rapid growth of mobile money applications in Nigeria that allow quick payments, money transfers, savings, investments, and more.
This guide provides extensive information on the major mobile money apps used in Nigeria to help you effectively utilise them.
An Overview of the Mobile Payments Ecosystem
Nigeria’s mobile payments industry has witnessed a remarkable transformation since 2012, when the first mobile money operators (MMOs) were licenced.
Some key enablers that have spurred the booming growth of mobile payments in Nigeria include:
- Expanding mobile phone adoption: Over 98 million internet users in Nigeria access digital services predominantly via mobile phones.
- Supportive regulatory framework: The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) have established guidelines, policies, and infrastructure facilitating mobile money.
- Innovative business models: leading banks, fintechs, telcos, and global tech companies have launched highly scalable and profitable mobile money platforms.
- Merchant partnerships—tie-ups with major billers, retail chains, and payment aggregators—have widened adoption.
- Agent networks: large agent networks of mobile money providers enable cash-in and cash-out services and onboarding for customers.
- Interoperability infrastructure: the Nigeria InterBank Settlement System Instant Payments (NIP) allows interoperability between bank accounts and mobile wallets.
As per industry reports, the total transaction volume of mobile money services touched $750 billion in 2022, making Nigeria one of the fastest-growing markets globally.
Popular mobile money applications
Many excellent mobile money apps catering to payment needs, fund transfers, savings, investments, etc. have risen in Nigeria.
Here is an overview of the major mobile money applications:
Owned by Opera, OPay offers Nigeria’s leading mobile wallet, allowing payments, airtime purchases, fund transfers, and a variety of other services through its mobile app.
Key services and features include:
- Mobile wallet: make payments, receive payments
- Airtime purchase: instant airtime top-up
- Fund transfer: bank transfers, mobile transfers
- Bill payments: electricity, cable TV, internet bills
- Savings and Earnings: Wealth Management Products
- Loans and Credit: Instant Credit Service
- Ride hailing: book rides on OTrip, OCar, and OFood.
- Merchant payments: scan-to-pay, point-of-sale payments
PalmPay offers full-fledged mobile banking services through partnerships with commercial banks.
It allows opening and operating a virtual bank account from a mobile app.
Key services offered are:
- Mobile banking: open virtual accounts and debit cards
- Transfers and payments: bank transfers, bill payments
- Savings: fixed or flexible automated savings
- Loans: Instant small-ticket loans
- Investments: high-yield investment options
- Airtime and data: Purchase talk time and data.
- Shopping: Online and offline payments on the PalmPay platform
Owned by Nigerian fintech startup TeamApt, the Moniepoint platform provides payments, transfers, savings, loans, and other financial services.
It offers the following services:
- Wallet: Make and receive payments by wallet.
- Transfers: Instant interbank transfers
- Savings: personal or group micro-savings
- Loan: digital instant loans
- Insurance: life and non-life insurance
- Payments: bills, POS, QR payments
- Invest: Fixed-income investments
- Virtual Dollar Card: Make payments in dollars.
- Gift card: buy or share gift cards.
Fintech company E-Settlement launched the PocketMoni app, offering mobile banking and financial services.
Key offerings of PocketMoni are:
- Mobile Banking: Full bank account features
- Transfers: Instant intra- and interbank transfers
- Airtime Purchase: Buy airtime instantly.
- Bill Payment: Pay electricity, cable, and internet bills.
- Online Shopping: Shop securely on Jumia, Konga, etc.
- ATM Card: A free debit card to withdraw cash
- Loans and Savings: Short- and long-term loans, fixed deposits
How Mobile Money Applications Work
Before exploring the popular apps in depth, let us understand the working model of mobile money platforms.
The mobile money ecosystem comprises the following key players:
- Mobile Money Operator (MMO): The company that operates mobile money platforms
- Agents: third-party outlets to perform cash-in/cash-out and customer onboarding
- Merchants and billers are businesses accepting payments via mobile money platforms that have tied up with MMOs.
- Customers are end users who sign up with MMO to perform digital transactions through their mobile wallet.
The step-wise flow of transactions is as follows:
- The customer downloads the mobile app and completes the registration process to open a wallet account. KYC verification is done.
- The customer visits the nearest agent and deposits cash, which gets added to the wallet balance after the agent sends instructions to the MMO system to credit the customer’s account.
- Using the app dashboard, customers can perform a variety of transactions, including:
- Transfer e-money to other wallet users.
- Pay bills, merchants digitally
- Purchase airtime, data, and gift cards.
- Access other financial services like loans, insurance, etc.
- To cash out money, the customer visits the agent’s location, who sends instructions to the MMO to deduct the requested amount from the customer’s mobile wallet and payout equivalent cash.
How to Choose the Right Mobile Money Platform
With so many appealing apps for digital payments and banking, how do you select the right choice tailored to your specific needs?
Here are key criteria to consider:
- Services offered: analyse the range of services, like payments, transfers, loans, investments, etc., available on the platform.
- Charges: Compare transaction charges like withdrawals, deposits, transfers, etc. across apps.
- Security: Check that safety systems are in place to safeguard your money.
- Customer support: availability of channels for grievance redressal.
- Agent network: a wider network ensures easier cash deposits and withdrawals.
- Reviews: User reviews on the Play Store and App Store indicate real user experiences.
Take these parameters into account before making a well-analysed decision on selecting the appropriate mobile money application for smooth financial transactions.
A Detailed Review of the Top Mobile Money Apps
Now let us explore the workings, features, and usage guidelines of the most popular mobile money applications used in Nigeria more closely.
OPay Wallet App
Owned by multinational internet company Opera Group, OPay specialises in digital payments and commerce services. Launched in 2018, it has emerged as Nigeria’s biggest mobile money app, with expansion to other African markets as well.
Opening an OPay Wallet Account
Getting started is quick and simple.
- Download & install OPay app from PlayStore/iOS Store
- Enter your phone number for the verification code.
Check the SMS on the phone number entered and input the 4-digit verification code shown.
- Set a security PIN for wallet login later.
- Input details like full name, DOB, residential address, etc.
- Upload a clear photo or submit a national ID card.
KYC requirements require submitting a valid ID document like a national ID, driver’s licence, passport, etc.
Once verified by OPay, your wallet account gets opened, ready for transactions.
How to Fund an OPay Wallet
Add money to your OPay wallet either by bank transfer or by visiting O’Outlet agents.
- Choose the bank transfer option on the app.
- Select a bank account and enter the amount to transfer.
- Confirm details and complete a transfer on the bank app or internet banking.
- The transferred amount gets added automatically to the OPay wallet. Agent Outlet
Locate the nearest OPay agent outlet available on the O’Map option on the app. Visit the outlet and deposit cash at the executive to get your wallet balance added instantly.
Key Services and Transactions
Myriad transactions can be done on the OPay platform using the wallet balance:
- Scan & Pay: Scan any QR code and pay seamlessly.
- Transfers: instant bank transfers and mobile wallet transfers
- Airtime/Data: Instant topping up of airtime and mobile data
- Bill Payments: Pay electricity, cable TV, and other utility bills.
- OPay Services: book rides, food delivery, make merchant payments, etc. using wallet balances.
A wide range of services can be accessed on one Super App through the OPay wallet!
Follow this process to cash out money from your OPay wallet:
- Go to the ‘More’ menu and click the ‘Withdraw’ option.
- Enter the amount and withdrawal mode (agent or ATM).
- Share the withdrawal code shown with the agent or input it into an ATM.
Agents charge a flat fee of 100 naira per withdrawal. ATM charges are the same as bank ATM charges.
OPay offers multiple channels for customer assistance and grievance redress:
- In-app support chat
- Phone support
Any issues faced during usage are swiftly resolved, ensuring a positive user experience.
Using the PalmPay Mobile Money App
PalmPay operates an innovative digital banking platform through strategic partnerships between FirstBank, Transsion Holdings, and Netplus Advisory.
Opening a PalmPay Account
To register on the PalmPay app:
- Download the PalmPay app on Android or iOS devices.
- Input a phone number and set an account password.
- Verify the phone number through the OTP received.
- Submit personal details like name, DOB, gender, etc.
- Provide a residential address and submit ID proof for approval.
A PalmPay account gets opened once all details are verified.
PalmPay Verve Card
A free virtual debit Verve card that can be used for ATM withdrawals and payments online (POS) is issued to PalmPay account holders.
It functions similarly to a physical Verve debit card.
Funding Wallet Account
Add money through cash deposits and bank transfers.
- Visit the nearest PalmPay agent.
- Provide a phone number linked to your PalmPay wallet.
- Submit the cash amount for the deposit, and the agent credits your wallet instantly.
- Choose the ‘Transfer’ option on the PalmPay app.
- Input the bank account details and the transfer amount.
- Approve a transfer using the destination bank’s internet or mobile banking.
- The transferred amount gets added automatically to the PalmPay balance.
Myriad transactions are offered on the PalmPay platform:
- Transfers and payments: instant bank/wallet transfers, merchant payments, bill payments, etc.
- Airtime and Data: Purchase airtime and data bundles.
- Shopping: Shop securely on partner e-commerce sites.
- Savings: Open a high-yield savings account.
- Loans and Investments: Instant loans and fixed-income investments
PalmPay aims to be a one-stop money app for all financial requirements!
There are multiple options to cash out money from a PalmPay wallet:
- PalmPay ATMs: Use a Verve card at a PalmPay-branded ATM.
- Agent Outlets: Cash out from registered PalmPay agents
- Transfer to bank: Transfer to account on any Nigerian bank
Using TeamApt’s Moniepoint App
Developed by leading Nigerian fintech TeamApt, the Moniepoint platform delivers full-stack digital financial services.
New Account Opening
Follow the below process to open an account on Moniepoint:
- Download and install the Moniepoint app.
- Enter your phone number to receive verification. OTP
- Input a 4-digit app login PIN.
- Provide valid government ID proof for profile verification.
- Submit a selfie, ID photo, and residential address proof.
After the submission of KYC documents, a new Moniepoint account gets opened instantly.
Fund the Moniepoint wallet using:
- Go to Transfers > To Moniepoint Wallet.
- Specify the bank account and amount to transfer.
- Complete a transfer using the bank’s mobile or internet banking.
- Locate the nearest agent outlet on the Moniepoint map.
- Visit the agent and pay cash to be deposited in the wallet account.
Transactions and services
Myriad transactions are supported:
- Airtime and data purchases
- Bill payments (electricity, cable TV, etc.).
- Transfers and merchant payments
- Microsavings and loans
- Insurance purchase
Advanced features like international transfers, dollar cards, and investments make Moniepoint a versatile money app.
Cashing Out Money
Multiple cash-out modes are offered:
- Bank transfer: transfer to any Nigerian bank
- Visit agent; cash withdrawal from agent
- Moniepoint Card: Use as a debit card at ATMs
We have explored the top money-making apps in depth. You can open accounts with multiple apps and use the one most convenient based on transaction needs!