“This measure is intended to further promote the use of plastic money, which significantly grew by 210 percent in 2017 from the 2016 position to reach a coverage of more than 80 percent of total retail transactions in the country.”

According to the central bank, mobile payments constituted the bulk of payment streams in volume terms in 2017. Out of the more than 1 billion transactions, 754 million were conducted through mobile.

The value of mobile financial services transactions for the year stood at $18 billion, an increase of 210 percent from the $5,8 billion recorded in 2016. In value terms, the RTGS constituted the largest contribution at more than 63 percent after transactions worth $61,7 billion went through the system.

Although the value has increased from $48,1 million prior year, the share has decreased from 69,51 percent prior year comparative.

“On a comparison basis aggregate electronic means of payments in terms of values and volumes grew significantly by 41 percent and 164 percent, respectively, in 2017.”

With the RTGS system as well as mobile platforms accounting for the bulk of the transactions, sizeable amounts were also conducted through Point of Sale (POS) machines 7,07 percent and internet banking at 7,48 percent.

Dr Mangudya said the growth can be attributed to the high usage, increased infrastructure and diversity of innovative payment systems products or services approved during the period under review. The growth can also be attributed to the increased deployment of POS by 84 percent to 59 939 in 2017.

According to figures presented in the MPS, all access points recorded a positive growth during the year under review except ATMs, which recorded a one percent decline. Debit cards were up by 37 percent, prepaid cards up by 48 percent and credit cards by 9 percent.

The number of people adopting mobile payment platforms also went up, with mobile payment subscribers increasing by 41 percent to 4,6 million while internet banking subscribers increased by 65 percent to 277 674.