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ITWeb Africa

Thursday, Feb 20th

Tech boost for Botswana's interbank payment system

Tech boost for Botswana’s interbank payment system.

The Bankers' Association of Botswana (BAB) intends to fully modernise the country's interbank payment system before the end of the year.

Two years after the Association embarked on a 13.5 million pula project to automate the national clearing house, Oabile Mabusa, BAB chief executive officer said the project is swiftly coming to fruition.

According to BAB, the development allows efficiencies on processing of cheque payments, electronic credit and debit funds transfers.

Mabusa said the first phase of the project was implemented on time and within budget. "It involved the acquisition and deployment of operating hardware and software platforms; deployment of data communications networks; and the installation and testing of hardcore business applications; as well as integration testing."

Mabusa added that cheque imaging and truncation went live in February and has improved efficiency.

"Exchanging images and using them as a basis for payment is more efficient and less time consuming than the physical exchange of cheques between banks. It reduces the clearing cycle and other logistical hurdles for movement of physical cheques from bank to bank, or to a central clearing point," said Mabuse.

Under the new system cheques are kept by the collecting bank and sent to the clearing house via a secure network and subsequently to the paying bank. This limits forgery and loss of cheques.

"The system also possesses the capability to detect any tampering of the cheque images," Mabuse said.

He continued by saying the country's legal framework supports the new system through various statutes such as National Clearance and Settlement Act, Electronic Communications and Transactions Act and the electronics Records (Evidence) Act.

The project will culminate with the introduction of new cheque standards to enhance security and minimise the risk of fraud.

"This stage involves the redesign and enhancement of cheque documentation standards across the industry; the production of new and secure cheques which comply with the new standards; and the eventual phasing in of the new cheque documentation standards."

To ensure security BAB worked with the solutions vendor who was responsible for ensuring the execution of supplier-side deliverables. The project was managed and implemented by an internal BAB team with expertise and vast experience in project coordination and management, systems integration and data communications.

The eleven banks operating in the country have already connected to the cheque imaging and truncation at the Botswana Automated Clearing House. Solutions introduced to the clearing house will be fully compliant with SADC Payments System Architecture.

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