PAPERLESS transactions through mobile devices and internet reached $1,3 billion in the first three months to March, according to statistics from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, reiterating the fact that Zimbabweans are now embracing virtual payment systems.
This was an increase from $930 million during the same quarter last year as the revolution in technology has resulted in people increasingly using mobile devices and internet to transact.
The mobile payments market has also grown from traditional money transfer services and now includes various forms of payments including bill payments among others.
Telecommunication firms dominate the mobile payment market, with Econet Wireless’ EcoCash enjoying the bigger market share. NetOne’s One Wallet and Telecel Zimbabwe’s TeleCash are some of the major providers of mobile payment services.
In January this year, the central bank said mobile and internet transaction were $465 million but declined to $439 million and increased to $476 million in March, surpassing the January level by $11 million.
“People now understand the convenience of mobile payments and internet transactions and the market is set to continue growing,” said analysts with a local research firm.
Economist Dr Gift Mugano said the coming in of mobile money transfer has changed the financial landscape of Zimbabwe.
“It is quite exciting to see mobile service providers coming in with this new innovation which helped to kind of bank the unbanked which the traditional banks have failed to take care of,” he said in an interview.
The service has become important taking into account that the country now has a thriving SME and the informal sector (the shadow economy) which, according to reports hold around $7 billion.