The Bank of Zambia has urged state owned telecommunication firm Zamtel to champion the provision of digital solutions in order to contribute to the achievement of the ambitious financial inclusion targets.
Bank of Zambia Governor for Operations Bwalya Ng’andu said Zamtel should take the lead in the market by providing digital solutions that will help accelerate financial inclusion especially for rural communities.
Dr Ng’andu was speaking at Zamtel House in Lusaka when he officiated at the launch of the integration of ZamPay and Visa and MasterCard platforms.
The integration means that ZamPay customers anywhere in the world can move funds from their Visa or MasterCard bank enabled bank accounts to their ZamPay.
Dr Ng’andu said the innovation by Zamtel will help bring about a cashless society and also reduce cash handling risks.
“Zamtel’s commitment to innovation that we see in the market is commendable and we would really like to see you become in your own space champions in the provision of digital solutions in order to improve the experience of your customers and even more importantly contribute to the achievement of our most ambitious financial inclusion targets that the Bank of Zambia and other financial sector regulators like the Securities Exchange Commission, the Pensions and Insurance Authority even ZICTA have set for themselves,” Dr Ng’andu said.
He added, “So this is the space where we would like to see a lot of change and you have taken up this challenge and we would like to congratulate very much.”
Dr 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.
He said 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. Electronic payments solutions are 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,” he said.
“While digital innovations are unlikely to completely wipe out the use of cash as a payment method any time soon, innovations such as the ZamPay, VISA and MasterCard platform, 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 that ZamPay 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,” Dr Ng’andu said.
The Bank of Zambia Deputy Governor has since appealed to the public to take advantage of these innovations saying 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.
And Zamtel Chief Executive Officer Sydney Mupeta stated that the integration of ZamPay with the Visa and MasterCard platforms is one innovation which will undoubtedly change the lifestyle of the Zambian people.
“As you are aware 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”, Mr. Mupeta said.
He added that the integration will enable customers to electronically transfer money from their respective bank accounts onto the ZamPay e-wallet at the press of a button.
“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”, he explained.
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.
Mr. Mupeta also announced that over 187 merchants have so far signed up and are already transacting with ZamPay including the big chain stores like Spur and Choppies.
“We therefore urge other business houses to come on board and sign up as merchants on our ZamPay Platform. As Zamtel, we will continue to grow the list of merchants so that we give our customers a wider choice where they can transact from using this wonderful innovation. We wish to emphasize that ZamPay represents the future outlook of how most transactions will be done as we go towards a cashless society,” Mr Mupeta said.
ZamPay application is the country’s first Quick Response (QR) code allowing consumers to scan the QR code displayed by the merchant with their phones to pay for their goods.
To start using ZamPay, Zamtel customers are requested to first download the ZamPay APP from Google Play store or App store and launch by swiping up from the home screen, authenticate then tap or hold their phone device close to the payment terminal to make payments. The consumers then enter the amount they have to pay and finally submit.