Mobile banking holding sway in Zimbabwe

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Mobile money payments continue to constitutes the bulk of payments streams in volume terms, according to the weekly economic review by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for the week ending June 29, 2018.

Mobile transactions volume for the week ending June 29, totalled 35,471,915 million which is a 7.1 percent increase from the previous week ending June 22 which was recorded at 33,130,094 million. Aggregately, mobile payments had a share of 82.64 percent.

Point of sale (POS) contributed 17% percent after 7,245,694 million transactions were recorded within the platform over the week.  This represents a growth of 6.8 percent from the prior week outturn of 6,789,697 million.

RTGS, ATM and Cheque payments contributed a marginal 0.35, 0.10 and 0.01 percent respectively with only 4,922 realised through cheque payments for the week ending June 29 which is a -2.7 percent decline from the prior week.

The growth in alternative platforms use in banking has surged since the beginning of the cash crisis a few years ago.

A harsh realisation that banks no longer have the capacity to meet daily cash demand has led to quick adoption on the part of customers and aggressive innovation on the part of banks and other financial services providers.

Mobile banking has easily taken top spot due to the convenience it offers and microtransactions have mainly been concentrated on the platform either as ZIPIT or Ecocash as the lingo in Zimbabwe goes.

In addition, low access to traditional banks, loss of trust in banks, the growth of the informal economy, improved internet availability (internet banking) and increasing mobile penetration is contributing to a surge in mobile payments.

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s mobile payment platform, EcoCash is further consolidating while Telecel Zimbabwe’s Telecash and NetOne’s own version are also active on the market.

EcoCash has enabled toll payments, bank to wallet transactions, bill payments and MasterCard debit card payments on its mobile money platform.

In the 2018 Monetary Policy Statement presented on February 8, 2018, RBZ governor, Dr John Mangudya highlighted the need to further promoting the use of mobile and electronic payment systems (plastic money).

According to the data provided by the central bank, digital payments have been on an upward growth since last year, with 2017 recording a billion of electronic transactions.

“The growth in the use of plastic money, away from cash transactions, was phenomenal in 2017 to the extent that more than 96% of the $97.5 billion from the 1 billion transactions processed in the entire country in 2017 was through electronic and mobile banking systems,” said Mangudya.

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