Trust is the major ingredient and key asset of a successful digital economy that must be underpinned by sound risk management and secure digital platforms.
Speaking yesterday in his keynote address at the ongoing Zimswitch Payments Conference in Nyanga, ZB Financial Holdings group chief executive Ronald Mutandagayi, said as part of the national financial inclusion strategy, financial market infrastructure like Zimswitch were required to ensure consumer protection, education and awareness, which invariably creates an atmosphere of trust and confidence in electronic payments systems.
“As many of you would be aware, in the February 2019 Monetary Policy Statement, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya emphasised security in the use of electronic means of payments and directed for the adoption EMV (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) compliance by March 31, 2019.
“This is aimed at ensuring our payments landscape maintains customer confidence and trust. The timing of this conference is opportune for our participants. Stemming from the Governor’s pronouncements, Zimswitch has set out an EMV roadmap for the country in line with the RBZ mandate,” said Mr Mutandagayi.
Mr Mutandagayi said the conference had been organised to facilitate the exchange of information and views on an array of topics to enable the sustained use of electronic systems in Zimbabwe.
“This conference is part of Zimswitch’s over-arching strategy goal of meeting customer needs through engagement. The conference is a strong initiative towards building strong collaboration and partnerships in supporting digital payments in Zimbabwe and the region. The theme for this year’s event is ‘A Digital Economy for Africa’. This theme is critical given the high usage of electronic payments platforms in Zimbabwe.
“The RBZ reports that over 90 percent of transactions are now taking place digitally. This makes Zimbabwe a unique case study for Africa. It is amazing how the transacting public has embraced and trusted digital payment solutions,” he said.
Mr Mutandagayi said in the early 90s the country saw the advent of the first Automated Teller Machines (ATM) but due to the cost of maintenance no single bank could cover the whole country.
“Banks concerned with the costs of independently running and maintaining a nationwide network of ATMs came together with a concept to share access to the few devices that were available at the time. The idea was to share access, expand access points and also attain economies of scale.
“The idea to share and collaborate led to the establishment of Zimswitch in 1994 through a partnership of eight founding financial institutions. It was trust that was at the heart of the founding partners to partner and share their assets which would have otherwise been used as a source of competitive advantage,” said Mr Mutandagayi.
He noted that some of the benefits of trust in the financial ecosystems are an increase in consumer confidence to use digital payments platforms and increased transaction volumes, which leads to more business for financial infrastructures like Zimswitch. The other benefits include more business on digital platforms for financial merchants, increased transactional revenues for the banks as well as improved transparency and revenue collection for the Government.
“Zimswitch now connects approximately 550 ATMs and 90 000 Point Of Sale (POS) devices, a huge jump from approximately 280 ATMS and 2 000 POS in 2001. Zimswitch has demonstrated its trust by extending collaboration to encampus international schemes. To date collaboration has been established with Mastercard while discussions are ongoing with VISA and UnionPay.
“Going forward Zimswitch will continue building on its reputation of trust and embrace partnerships and collaboration especially with FinTechs (Financial Technology companies) in the area of open APIs (Application Programming Interface), this will enable convention of the future of payments in Zimbabwe. I wish to assure delegates that Zimswitch considers security and trust as essential elements of the digital community,” he said.