ZIMBABWE is on track to becoming a cashless society as a recent central bank report showed a 9,8% increase in volumes processed through the National Payment Systems (NPS).
The increase came a month after the central bank and banks agreed to reduce all bank charges, resulting in a 4,2% increase in point of sales (POS) transactions each week.
According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) economic review for the week ending July 8, the value of transactions processed through NPS stood at $1,05 billion from $1,25 billion the previous week.
However in volume terms, NPS transactions increased to 6 985 715 in the week under review from 6 359 238.
Mobile-based transactions accounted for 76,99% of the volume of transactions, followed by POS (16,89%), ATM (5,51%) real time gross settlement (0,82%) and cheques at 0,09%.
Bankers, along with the central bank, have been pushing for increased usage of plastic money. Financial expert Persistence Gwanyanya told the NewsDay in emailed responses that one of the key issues about the country’s cash problems was that they would not disappear in one day due to deep-seated structural problems causing them.
“In short, like the world over, Zimbabwe is becoming a cashless society. RBZ statistics on the uptake of electronic payment platforms confirm this. The imbalance in the economy characterised with high levels of imports and very low levels of exports will continue to have been haemorrhaging the economy’s liquidity,” he said.
This scenario will take time to correct. As such Zimbabwe requires plastic money more than any other country in the World. Those businesses who insist in cash will lose market share over time.”
He said there has been an increase in mobile money transfers and a number of banks have successfully implemented mobile money transfer platforms. Gwanyanya said it was easy to transact between bank and mobile phone platforms making banking easier. Analysts have noted the rise in POS transactions can be seen in the rise of POS machines in pharmacies, private hospitals, restaurants among a number of retail and whole outlets.
In March, the central bank governor John Mangudya laid out a plan to have 80% of society using plastic money.