By Enacy Mapakame
ZIMSWITCH is carrying out a trial for its cross border payment system as it moves closer to linking local banks to a regional payment platform to facilitate smooth flow of transactions across the SADC region.
The cross border payment system will enable Zimbabweans to transact within the region using their bank cards on Zimswitch.
In an interview with The Herald Business, Zimswitch projects and product development manager Mr Terence Manhanga said this will also reduce dependency on international card payment systems like Visa and Mastercard.
“Your Zimswitch card should be able to work in any of the SADC countries without resorting to other card associations like VISA or Mastercard.
“Right now we have implemented a gateway and we are in the process of testing with what we call the regional clearing house in South Africa.
“We are in the process of testing how the cross border transaction works and once we, as Zimswitch, are satisfied, we will involve the local financial institutions in the testing,” he said.
When successfully launched, the payment system will enable Zimbabweans to transfer money across SADC, do point of sale transactions as well as access cash from any country within SADC region.
Completion of the project is, however, also dependent on the progress made in other SADC countries, who are Zimswitch’s partners in this project.
“We are working on this platform in the region and no country is ready yet, so depending on the progress happening in the region we will start transacting,” he said, adding the project was targeted at low value transactions.
“Right now we have other platforms for high value transactions. It does not make sense to be charged say $40 when you want to send $30 to a child in school in South Africa.
“It also reduces dependency on these international card payments which sometimes leave us stranded when we need them,” said Mr Manhanga.
At an opportune time, Zimswitch will partner global operators like World Remit for the project, whose priority is currently the region.
Meanwhile, Zimswitch has also been affected by the cash challenges that have been prevailing in the country as its volumes in cash transactions significantly reduced.
But the increase in use of plastic money has had a compensatory effect on the business.