Mobile money accounts in Malawi have reached 5.1 million and this growth has occurred at the same time the Central Bank has announced plans to make it mandatory for businesses to have at least one digital payment channel.
According Reserve Bank of Malawi spokesperson Mbane Ngwira, Deployment and Usage of Electronic Payments Channels Regulations 2018 seeks to make it mandatory for every businesses operating in Malawi to have at least one digital payment channel including mobile money, mobile banking, point of sale devices and internet banking for payments of goods and services.
The Bill was jointly prepared by the Reserve Bank of Malawi, Malawi Revenue Authority, Bankers Association of Malawi, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and the Ministry of Justice.
"Work on the Bill is being finalised and will be issued by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism by December this year," Ngwira said.
He added that besides easing transaction processing by the business community, the regulation would also offer flexibility to consumers willing to pay for goods and services electronically.
Mobile money accounts have continued to rise in Malawi as the country ventures towards a cashless economy.
Figures from the Reserve Bank of Malawi show that the number of mobile money accounts reached 5.1 million as of August 2018, compared to 4.7 million registered in June.
James Chiusi, executive secretary of the Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises, said people appreciate the logistic convenience that mobile money platforms offer, as well as not having to wade through complicated documentation compared to the experience at most traditional banks.
"People including SMEs with low literacy levels are better served by mobile money platforms. Additionally, mobile money services have reached deep in remote rural areas were traditional banks are not present," he said.