Econet Wireless’ banking unit Steward Bank says electronic banking transactions are growing 30 percent month-on-month supported mainly by over 10 000 POS machines in the market and the group’s products such as Ecocash.This comes as latest data from ZimSwitch shows that POS deployment coverage across the country has increased with the devices now found in a number of outlying areas and in major retailers and service stations. As at the end of October, the number of active POS machines had increased to 14 401 from 4 780 in January.
The value of POS purchases increased by 38,7 percent to $190 million in October from $137 million a month earlier, reflecting gradual rise from $36 million since March.
Although the cash crisis gripping this country has driven card based transactions, it saw marked decline in the number of transactions carried out on automated teller machines, lowering withdrawal limits due to high demand.
ATM transactions plummeted from 101 093 in March to 1 824 in October, as the teller machines constantly run out of cash to meet the huge demand.
The value of ATM transactions has also fallen drastically this year; from $9 million at the end of the first quarter to a mere $73 000 by end of October 2016.
Through ZIPIT functionality, transactions initiated from mobile devices have been increasing steadily, as the availability of cash remains a challenge.
The cash crisis has gripped virtually all local banks and the economy in general. This has seen mobile based transactions register astronomical growth from 3 958 in March to 77 253 in September 2016 and 94 882 a month later.
Mobile based transactions valued at $14,7 million were completed in October 2016 compared to $12,8 million in September and $470 000 in March 2016. Internet transactions fell to $518 000 in last month from $3,8 million in March this year.
But the October was much higher than the 163 733 in September.
In an interview, Steward bank chief executive Dr Lance Mambondiani said the bank had witnessed a lot of traction in e-banking and this had significantly contributed to the bank’s operations.
“We are seeing a 30 percent growth in our e-business which necessarily entails our customers not entering the bank.
“We have more than 10 000 POS machines in the economy and these have increased traction,” he said.
Dr Mambondiani said the bank is targeting to open 100 000 in the second half of its financial year having registered 180 000 new accounts in the first half.
“We on boarded 180 000 accounts in the past six months and we are looking at adding more.
“We are looking at least 100 000 more accounts,” he said.
On agent banking, Mambondiani said the bank now has 3 000 agents and is deliberately not extending that number.
Meanwhile, Steward Bank last week launched an SMS Banking solution under the Name Square Banking. It is a banking facility that enables customers to perform banking transactions on mobile phones through the USSD code *210# on Econet.
“Square mobile app is a convenient banking solution that allows you to do your banking on your smartphone from wherever you are. One can make bill payments, buy electricity or get electricity on credit, perform transfers among others,” he said.
Dr Mambondiani said the app also allows Steward Bank customers registered on Ecocash to purchase Zesa tokens on credit. – Wires.