Banks’ one-stop e-pay­ment sys­tem set for Jan­uary

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By BUUMBA CHIMBULU tional Fi­nan­cial Switch (NFS) project which in­tends to in­ter­con­nect all com­mer­cial banks’ elec­tronic pay­ment sys­tem is ex­pected to be im­ple­mented in Jan­uary 2018 by the Bank of Zam­bia in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Zam­bia Elec­tronic Clear­ing House (ZECHL).

The project is also meant to in­crease fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion since all pay­ment sys­tems will be in­ter­con­nected thereby low­er­ing trans­ac­tion costs.

Ac­cord­ing to ZECHL chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Wil­lie Chishimba, the Au­to­mated Teller Ma­chines (ATMs) and Point of Sale Ma­chines (POS) for the project would be up and run­ning by Jan­uary next year.

He was speak­ing in Lusaka at the mas­ter class train­ing for busi­ness re­porters or­gan­ised by the Zam­bia In­sti­tute for Pol­icy Anal­y­sis and Re­search (ZIPAR) and Fi­nan­cial Sec­tor Deep­en­ing Zam­bia (FSDZ).

Mr. Chishimba ex­plained that the project had two phases, say­ing the first phase would be im­ple­mented next year while the sec­ond one would be ex­e­cuted by the com­mer­cial banks soon af­ter the first de­vel­op­ment.

“Next year, we should be up and run­ning on ATMs. We are go­ing live some­where in Jan­uary next year. We were sup­posed to op­er­ate the ATMs this year. The sys­tem is of in­ter­na­tional stan­dards. It is based on very solid se­cu­rity. Cus­tomer ed­u­ca­tion is how­ever needed. Let us use more se­cure and ef­fi­cient meth­ods of mak­ing and re­ceiv­ing pay­ments.

“The sys­tem is so much de­pen­dent on tele­coms be­cause it is an on­line project. The Zam­bia In­for­ma­tion Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Tech­nol­ogy Au­thor­ity (ZICTA) is putting tow­ers all over to help with that process. In terms of im­ple­men­ta­tion from our own point of view, we have two phases. Phase one which we are very close to fin­ish­ing. The sec­ond phase is the mo­bile op­er­a­tors,” he said. Mr. Chishimba also ex­plained that the NFS which was also meant to am­plify dig­i­tal pay­ments was for small value trans­ac­tions.

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