RBZ mulls electronic payments regulation

HARARE - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) plans to introduce regulations that govern electronic transactions following the proliferation of technology-based payment platforms.

William Manhimanzi, the central bank’s financial markets division deputy director, said “innovation has gone ahead of legislation”.

“…at the moment we are at the consultative stage and we hope to have regulations soon,” he said at ZimSwitch’s 20th anniversary celebrations last week.

He said there is need to continuously amend regulations as technology keeps changing.

The new regulations will enable effective management and operation of all electronic payments platforms, particularly cards, mobile, e-banking and Internet among others.

Manhimanzi said financial institutions and other players, particularly mobile network operators (MNOs), must work together to ensure greater interoperability.

“There are actually concerns at the moment among stakeholders relating to interoperability.

“If you go around the countryside one glaring thing that you see is

three mobile phone network operators’ boosters located within the same proximity.

“This tells us that people are not co-operating in terms of infrastructure,” he said.

He said “something is fundamentally wrong and that a lot of money could have been saved had the companies come up and worked closely together”.

In that regard, ZimSwitch — third party transaction acquiring business —has over the years made efforts to ensure that banks are able to share infrastructure.

“With a ZimSwitch enabled card, one can use it on a wide spectrum of automated teller machines (ATMs) or point of sale machines.

“That is interoperability and that is what we want as an economy,” Manhimanzi said.

He noted that there are numerous opportunities in synergising banks with MNOs.

“We would like to encourage financial institutions and mobile network operators to continue promoting electronic payments and intensify interoperability.

“The recent introduction of electronic-based cards by MNOs is indeed a welcome development and we hope for more innovative products and services,” he said.

Over the past 20 years, ZimSwitch has grown from 23 ZimSwitch configured ATMs to 393 while 21 financial services institutions are currently on their platform.

According to the latest statistics from the central bank, the total value of card-based transactions increased by 8,74 percent to $392,81 million in July, from $361.25 million in June this year.

This comes as the value of mobile and Internet-based transactions increased by 6,6 percent, from $388,46 million, in June 2014 to $414,09 million in July 2014.

Cheque transactions’ value declined to $11,72 million in July, from $12,42 million in the previous month.

The value of transactions processed through the RTGS system in July 2014 increased by seven percent to $3,9 billion, from $3,7 billion in June.

In volume terms, transactions registered an increase of three percent from 193 582 to 199 587 during the same period.

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