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Zimbabwe banks develop new payment platform as Paynet dispute continues

Zimbabwe banks develop new payment platform as Paynet dispute continues

According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, banks in the Southern African country - that remain embroiled in a dispute with traditional payment services provider Paynet - have developed their own electronic payments platform and this is expected to go live by the end of July 2019.

In the interim, banks are using internet payments and mobile money to ensure payments.

The latest development is because of an ongoing dispute between banks (including regional divisions of global banks like Nedbank, Ecobank, Standard Chartered and First Capital Bank) and traditional payment service provider Paynet, which has withdrawn its service from the local financial services sector.

Paynet is suing the banks for US$100-million, accusing them of anti-competitive behaviour after they refused to pay for the electronic transfer service in foreign currency following new monetary policy measures in June. These measures effectively ruled out trade using foreign currencies.

Dr William Kavila, deputy director for economic policy at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, said, "Banks have devised alternative means of payments following disagreement on the use of the Paynet system. Banks are using other payment services such as RTGS, ZIPIT, internet, card (POS) and mobile money payments to serve the transacting public."

However, according to Paynet and Payserv's holding company Cambria, the bulk payment methods being used by the banks are not secure and expose customer's personal data to risk.

"In line with continued innovation and to further enhance efficiency, banks are working on a fully fledged bulk payments local solution which is expected to go live end of July 2019. Banks have also devised mechanisms to allow for exchange of electronic payment files," added Kavila.

Foreign credit and debit cards such as Visa and MasterCard can be used in Zimbabwe, with holders of the cards allowed to withdraw local currency using the interbank exchange rate from specific ATMs the banks are setting up.

After the fall-out with the banks, Paynet has partnered mobile money platforms EcoCash and One Money run by mobile network operators, Econet and NetOne respectively.


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