Zimbabwean Banks have been urged to share their infrastructure and platforms in order to better serve the population considering Zimbabwe is too small a country to have multiple switch services all targeting the small population of 14 million people.
During a discussion at the Zimswitch Payment Conference that hovered around concerns about financial players’ unwillingness to share equipment resulting in duplication of Point of Sale (POS) machines, several members of the banking sector noted the need for the Zimbabwean banks to share their platforms.
The Electronic Payments Association of Zimbabwe (EPAZ) Chairman, Mr Saul Chin’anga stressed that for the financial services providers to provide the right platforms need to be shared to ensure that there is full interoperability.
“Players need to take advantage of shared platforms to ensure that there is full interoperability which will allow us to develop more financial products and services tailored to meet the requirememts of our segmented customers,” said Mr Chin’anga.
Mr Sam Nyapuranga from NMB Bank supported the idea, saying that the systems need to communicate and share data.
Ms Yvonne Kariwo from Barclays Bank said that some merchants are now flooded with POS machines because of banks’ need to compete with each other and not share their platforms, hence their attitude of sending their POS machines to merchants already in possession of other POS machines.
“It is worrying that many banks deploy several POS machines and staff to the same merchants whereas they can ride on each other’s machines and share infrastructure as is the way in other countries,” said Ms Yvonne Kariwo.
The topic of interoperability and infrastructure sharing has been a heating topic within the telecommunications sector with the minister of ICT and Cyber Security, Hon Supa Mandiwanzira having given the mobile money services providers and ultimatum to make their platform interoperable for the benefit of the consumers who will reap huge rewards from the ease in sending and receiving money across platforms.
While the Mobile Money Interoperability deadline passed, the mobile money providers are said to be making significant efforts to intergrate their systems to allow for the kind of communication needed to make their platforms interoperable.
Financial interoperability will aid a lot in how Zimbabweans make their transactions. At the moment, Zimswitch is working on a new bulk payment platform to relieve pressure on the RTGS system called Zeepay.