Have you ever been truly cashless? Government wants you to go down that route, but if my experience yesterday was anything to go by, just


Prepare To Die Of Hunger If You Go Cashless: A True Story

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Have you ever been truly cashless? Government wants you to go down that route, but if my experience yesterday was anything to go by, just prepare to be stranded and possibly die of hunger if you believe them.


I left home with some petty cash and my ATM card. After running some errands, I had emptied my wallet of cash and I was hungry. No problem; right? ATM card to the rescue. I walked into a food outlet, ordered a meal, and handed my card to the attendant. Card declined. “Mister man, please try again. There’s money in the account”. Card declined the second time. Yeepa!

Mister Mo after the Cashless experience


My village people have found me. By this time, the worms were out marching and protesting in my stomach. Why today? If you took a quick glance at that picture of mine above and thought, “This Mister Mo is fine sha!”, please scroll back up and take a closer look. You will see me desperately trying to hide the lines that hunger had drawn on my face. As a matter of fact, I think my hair grew greyer too. Walahi-talahi!

Like a boss, I pulled out my smartphone and I tried to log into my bank account to see what demon had swallowed the money in there. “Unable to validate user profile at this time; please try again later“. There was an “OK” button at the bottom of the pop-up that displayed that message, but my dear friends, there was nothing okay about this situation at all.


What kind of wahala was this?

Cashless Mo Meets Cashful Babe

I didn’t care about the embarrassment of standing there and being told my card was declined thrice (yes; I let him try again). It was the hunger that was killing me at that moment. There was this beautiful lady right behind me. I was politely asked to step aside so she could be attended to. When she stepped up to the counter, she waved the cash in her hand and said, “This is why I came with my cash; I don’t want trouble.”

Was she rubbing this in or just being pleasant? I went with the latter. We made small talk about ATM card problems in Nigeria while her order was packaged. From our gist, clearly our mutual bank was having issues, and she being the Girl’s Guide was prepared. I, Robin Hood, would suffer.



So, I waited around while trying at intervals to see if the issue had been resolved. It was a wait in futility. I thought to myself, “There is fuel in the car. Last last, I will jump in and drive home”. Right? Wrong!

The whole saga hit a hilariously low note when it dawned on me that without any cash on me, I couldn’t even pay the parking ticket and leave!! I was properly grounded. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t shop, and couldn’t leave if I wanted to. I had to sit in the car for hours till the bank wahala ended and I could use my card again.

If you have no idea what it means to be truly cashless, this was it. 😂 😂 😂 I could say to you, “Always have cash on you, people”, but did you read that part where I said I left home with cash? So, what good is that advice?


To think that just the day before, a Punch newspaper reporter had called me for a telephone interview about the state of ATM card usage in Nigeria. Did I say something wrong during the interview? I hope your day was much better than mine. Have a wonderful weekend!

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  2. This is not funny at all, this how ATM card fails on different occasions due to network, and technical inefficiency somewhere. Sorry Sir, I sure don’t wanna be in your shoes.. Lol.

  3. This is a common problem Nigerians face in terms of cashless service operations.

    The apps can have errors, the atm cards then get dysfunctional and you are left looking lost and helpless.

    It is a frustrating episode to go through… it is always advisable to have some cash on you in case of any failure from yr bank services, esp on the weekends.

    Hardwick on yr experience Mr Mo, experience gave u an important lesson now.

    Hehehe 🙄

  4. This ia is definitely not good, i feel your pain, Mister Mo, that was a frustrating moment one would not want to experience. This is a lesson for the rest of us, to always make sure we have some cash with us when ever we are going out, we should not live in cashless world all the time.

  5. I didn’t laugh. No, I lied.
    Funny, I was thinking few days ago that we should expand the cashless base to more businesses, especially small businesses. Seems we still have a lot of work to do.
    But Mister Mo, if you had another bank’s card you may have been saved from GT Bank’s wahala. Sorry, you hear?

  6. I sha thought the cashful babe will offer to pay Mister Mo’s bill. If it was a cashful guy vs cashless babe we know how the story would have ended.

  7. Same way it foolhardy to rely on a single network for internet connectivity, so it is to rely on a single bank for cash accessibility.

    can’t shout..

  8. Sorry Chief. Another Bank account should have done the trick. Las Las.. Aella Credit or Paylater. I do agree though that epayment systems and lines of credit in Naija are still emerging.

  9. EyeBeeKay and Sydney,

    You have a point about relying on multiple bank accounts. I do feel odd about carrying multiple ATM cards around. Imagine the security risks.

    Even Aella Credit or Paylater have to credit one’s bank account first, and if it is that same account acting up, wahala.

    We really need to just improve on service delivery. And the truth is that it won’t happen until we get better infrastructure for these services to run on. We have a long way to go.

  10. We only have one bank account and we don’t usually leave ourselves cashless, even if we’re running errands (or at least I make sure we’re not ;). Until someone’s village people decided that, whilst in another State with a visitor, the ATM should swallow the bank card because it was a long bank holiday weekend. It was surreal. Fortunately, we had enough petrol to get home (our visitor just shrugged because they’re that kind of person).

    In the end, the small change we had on us we had to manage until the banks were open again. It was like holding your breath and waiting to exhale…

  11. Mr Mo your experience was one moment in Hell I wouldn’t like to find myself. shows that sometimes technology can disappoint you. but can we aay we have arrived at a level of technological effectiveness that we can rely % 100 on cashless transactions. certainly no!
    Any of getting there?
    Maybe in years to come.

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