Elec­tronic trans­ac­tions us­age in re­mote ar­eas surges

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

THE use of mo­bile and In­ter­net-based trans­ac­tions in re­mote ar­eas has been on an up­ward tra­jec­tory with the gen­er­al­ity of the coun­try’s pop­u­lace em­brac­ing mod­ern modes of pay­ment.

A snap sur­vey in most ru­ral ar­eas of Mata­bele­land North Province re­vealed that most shops were now ac­cept­ing mo­bile phone trans­ac­tions, with a few also avail­ing Point of Sale Pur­chase (POS) ma­chines for cus­tomers to ten­der their pay­ment.

Though the use of “plas­tic money” has over the past few years been em­braced by the trans­act­ing pub­lic in vir­tu­ally all ur­ban ar­eas, it has taken a while to con­vince the ru­ral pop­u­lace to ac­cept that mode of pay­ment in pref­er­ence of hard cash.

Con­fed­er­a­tion of Zim­babwe Re­tail­ers (CRZ) pres­i­dent Mr Den­ford Mu­tashu said most re­tail­ers in ru­ral ar­eas were now ac­cept­ing elec­tronic trans­ac­tions largely due to the pre­vail­ing cash short­ages in the coun­try.

“We are quite happy about the pen­e­tra­tion of mo­bile trans­ac­tions as well as elec­tronic trans­fers. Though we still have a long way in terms of elec­tronic trans­fers we just hope that the sit­u­a­tion will nor­malise as time goes by and the in­fra­struc­ture im­proves. Peo­ple in ru­ral ar­eas are happy to use plas­tic money and those in ur­ban ar­eas also find it con­ve­nient to send money via mo­biles than through buses to their ru­ral folk,” he said.

M r Mu t a s h u , how­ever, lamented the ab­sence of

POS ma­chines at most ru­ral ar­eas due to lack of ad­e­quate in­fra­struc­ture.

“We dis­cov­ered that there is very lit­tle to none trans­ac­tions in cash. Al­most 98 per­cent of all trans­ac­tions are at­trib­ut­able to largely mo­bile and elec­tronic. The rea­son why mo­bile trans­ac­tion is so preva­lent, com­mon and con­ve­nient among the ma­jor­ity of the ru­ral con­sumers is that the con­nec­tiv­ity is far much bet­ter than the net­work in­fra­struc­ture around the POS ma­chine and the re­quire­ments and charges are many com­pared to the mo­bile phone and this makes it unattrac­tive to some shop own­ers,” he said.

Econet’s Eco­cash has be­come the coun­try’s big­gest money mover hav­ing trans­acted $11 bil­lion be­tween 2012 and June 2015.

As much as $23 bil­lion has been trans­acted through Eco­Cash in the past six years.

Ac­cord­ing to the 2018 mon­e­tary state­ment the growth in the use of elec­tronic means of pay­ment was

phe­nom­e­nal

and

ag­gre­gated to $64, 7 mil­lion for six months end­ing June 2018, rep­re­sent­ing 216 per­cent in­crease com­pared to the same pe­riod last year. Real Time Gross Set­tle­ment (RTGS) con­sti­tuted the largest con­tri­bu­tion at 58 per­cent while mo­bile pay­ments con­sti­tuted the bulk in vol­ume terms at 84 per­cent out of a to­tal of 856 mil­lion trans­ac­tions.

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