ZAMBIA: Expand use of digital based payments, BOZ urges public


BANK of Zambia deputy governor operations Bwalya Ng’andu says it is no longer necessary to move around with huge sums of money as alternative electronic channels of conducting transactions are now available in the market.
During the integration of ZamPay with VISA and MasterCard at Zamtel House on Monday, Ng’andu appealed to the public to take advantage of the innovations.
He said the innovation was a welcome continuation of the commendable effort that ZAMTEL has made in the recent past to expand the use of digital based payments in the country.
“A good example of this effort by the company was the launching in 2017 of the mobile money solution called ‘Zamtel Kwacha’. However, what makes today’s launch exciting, is that customers on ZamPay will now be able to electronically transfer money from their bank accounts to their ZamPay wallets and vice versa,” he said.
Ng’andu said ZamPay was transformative as it would ease the process of transacting which in turn would positively impact on people’s day-to-day lives because of the efficiency and convenience gains that it brings about.
“Money transfer will now become easier going forward much more than it has ever been before. The significance of the solution provided by the integration of ZamPay to the VISA and MasterCard platforms becomes more evident if we consider that one of the challenges that customers currently face when using mobile money arises from the poor integration of systems between the banks and the mobile money service providers,” he said. “Customers quite often have to walk to mobile money outlets in order to deposit money in their mobile money wallets before they can engage in further transactions. This is clearly inconveniencing to say the least. With the integration of ZamPay to the VISA and MasterCard platforms, this challenge will become something of the past since the loading of cash from your bank account into your wallet can be done in the comfort of your home.”
Ng’andu said the efficiency and convenience in payments and the safety which comes with the fact that customers would also no longer be required to move with physical cash to make deposits into their wallets basically changes the financial sector landscape in a way “we have not seen before.”
He said the use of digital technology to access financial services had become, for most people, an everyday feature that was beginning to define how they spend, send and save money.
“An ever increasing number of people is now paying bills, transferring money and accessing their bank statements using their computers or mobile phones. The growth in digital financial services (DFS) has given millions of consumers (who previously had little or no access to a bank accounts) access to financial services for the first time. This trend is unstoppable and one of the consequences of this advancement will be an eventual reduction in the use of cash,” Ng’andu said.
“Given the state of advancement in technology based payment methods that we have so far achieved in Zambia, the use of cash in effecting payments is probably now much higher than it needs to be. The current reliance on cash and hence the presence of huge amounts of cash in circulation today is owed to people still preferring to move with cash as opposed to using alternative payment methods. But dealing in cash is neither safe nor efficient and what the digital payments methods are offering is the opportunity to take away some of the risks and inconveniences associated with the use of cash.”
He said electronic payment solutions were convenient in terms of time management as they also reduce the trouble and risk of carrying huge amounts of money particularly when making high value transactions.
Ng’andu said while digital innovations were unlikely to completely wipe out the use of cash as a payment method any time soon, innovations such as the ZamPay, VISA and MasterCard platforms, give customers a real choice of making payments for their goods and services without having to withdraw cash from their bank accounts or wallets.
“It is, however, my prayer the Zamtel Mobile Money will ensure that this product is priced in a manner that makes it affordable to customers and also address the limited coverage of the mobile networks in order to encourage the widespread usage of technology based solutions to even the rural areas of the country,” he said.
Ng’andu said to assist in increasing knowledge to the public, the Bank of Zambia had been carrying out sensitisation campaigns to create awareness of the benefits of using electronic payment solutions in daily transactions.
“We are confident that through these awareness campaigns, the uptake of electronic methods of paying by members of the public will grow and with it an improvement in the delivery of financial services by both the bank and non-bank financial institutions,” said Ng’andu. “Accordingly, the Bank of Zambia has prioritised the promotion of digital financial services (DFS) as an alternative to the use of cash. To this end, the Bank constituted a working group on DFS in order to promote and sensitise the general public on the advantages of using such products in their day-to-day activities. We trust these measures will yield the right results going forward.”
Zamtel chief executive officer Sydney Mupeta said the integration of ZamPay with the VISA and MasterCard platforms was one innovation which would, undoubtedly, change the lifestyle of the Zambian people.
Mupeta said customers currently have to walk some distance to find the nearest retail outlet for them to credit their ZamPay accounts with e-value.
“This is not only inconveniencing but keeps the customers away from other productive activities. The innovation we are launching today will enable customers to electronically transfer money from their respective bank accounts onto the ZamPay e-wallet at the press of a button,” he said. “All this will be done from the comfort of their home, office or indeed any work station. The integration of ZamPay with VISA and MasterCard therefore marks a huge step in making ZamPay the preferred mode of payment in Zambia as it will give our customers a seamless mobile payment experience. At Zamtel, we believe that enabling Fast, Easy and Secure payments is core to our customer proposition and the integration of ZamPay with VISA and MasterCard demonstrates this commitment.”

Mupeta urged all those who have not yet tried the solution to download the ZamPay Application on Google Play store.