Zimswitch, a company set up and owned by Zimbabwean banks, has been designated as the national payment switch and providers of mobile money transmission and mobile banking now must be connected to Zimswitch by 15 August.
This extension of Zimswitch’s range by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in terms of SI80 of 2020 means that EcoCash, OneMoney and Telecash will now be in the Zimswitch universe and that all electronic financial transactions, regardless of where they originate or end, can be made through Zimswitch.
This designation of Zimswitch as the national payment switch, announced by Reserve Bank Governor Dr John Mangudya yesterday, is part of the moves to bring mobile money services under control of monetary authorities, as set out in the regulations issued at the end of March.
The banking sector and its Zimswitch service have always been under RBZ regulation and the transfer systems were developed to ensure compliance with RBZ rules and regulations. Now the mobile money providers will automatically fall under RBZ regulations by joining Zimswitch.
The March regulations not only sought to enforce bank-type controls on mobile money transfers, but also to create a seamless system of electronic money transfer, regardless of whether this was done by phone, online, by card or in the banks.
Zimswitch already connects all banks and point of sale machines, which is why everyone can swipe on any machine in any shop and the money will flow from their bank, regardless of which one, to the shopkeeper’s bank account.
At one time all ATMs were interconnected, meaning anyone could withdraw cash from any ATM. When cash shortages hit, banks were permitted to dedicate their ATMs to their own customers.
Under SI80, whose implementation was delayed by the lockdown, the mobile money providers have to complete the necessary commissioning of infrastructure, and do what is necessary to connect to Zimswitch.
To avoid further delay Dr Mangudya set August 15 as the deadline.
Zimswitch will also be the single point of contact of the entire banking sector, including mobile money providers, with the outside world.