BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Zimbabwe registered a 62% increase in the value of transactions processed on its payment system to $151,75 billion in 2018 from $93,83 billion in the prior year, driven mainly by real time gross settlement (RTGS) transactions, official data has shown.
According to the Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) released on Wednesday, the volume of transactions on the national payment system surged by 98% to 1,96 billion from 988 million in 2017.
The national payment stream is characterised by RTGS and mobile financial services, cheque, automated teller machines, points-of-sale and Internet.
Mobile financial services transactions went up 145% to $44 billion from $18 billion in 2017, while Internet transactions increased 8,63% to $13 billion.
Central bank governor John Mangudya said the payment services sector remained generally stable, safe, and resilient, despite some isolated challenges in the environment during 2018.
He said this was largely attributable to the on-going oversight efforts by the central bank, as well as development and implementation of sound risk management measures by market players.
“The payments, clearing and settlement sector is going through a period of unusually rapid evolution and growth. Market players have enhanced the payment systems infrastructure capacity to handle currently high volumes,” Mangudya said. “The safety and stability of the payment systems infrastructure and related technology hinges on the effective management of system capacity on an on-going basis. Inadequately addressed capacity issues could result in operational and strategic risks, potentially affecting the ecosystem.”
He said there was need to ensure financial stability in the ecosystem, urging market players to continuously invest in enhancing their infrastructure capacity, in tandem with the increasing electronic transactions.
Mangudya urged payment system providers to comply with the Guidelines for Retail Payment Systems and Instruments of 2017, which require institutions to regularise their governance structures by the end of 2019.
“Banks and payment services providers should continuously train all staff to ensure a better understanding, effective and consistent application of standards across the board,” he said.
“Payment service providers should enforce timely resolution of consumer queries as per approved policies, continue educating their customers on the products and cyber-crime related issues and enhance their systems to inform the consumer in advance before committing to the services, especially charges, thereby promoting transparency as opposed to the current