THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono has urged the banking sector to leverage on the current developments in mobile banking as an effective distribution network for financial products to various segments of society.
Report by Tarisai Mandizha
Mobile banking is a system that allows customers of a financial institution to conduct a number of transactions through a mobile device such as a mobile phone or personal digital assistant.
Presenting his first monetary policy statement of the year, Gono last week said the local economy had benefited immensely from the introduction of mobile banking services.
“Notwithstanding the bold strides attained in the provision of mobile banking services, immense opportunities for growth in mobile payments abound, particularly in view of the rapid rise in penetration rates,” he said.
“As such, banks are urged to leverage on this impelling development in the area of mobile banking as an effective distribution network for financial products to various segments of the transacting public.”
He added that the growth in mobile banking had been accompanied by greater access to products such as Diaspora remittances, which could prompt existing customers to increase their use of banking services.
As monetary authorities we advise that mobile money transfer services are merely a payment system or delivery channel, which does not amount to deposit taking,” he said.
“Accordingly, mobile transfers should operate on a credit push principle where all e-money value is backed by pre-funded balances which are held in banking institutions.”
Access to financial services remains a challenge for some of the marginalised communities especially those in the rural areas. In the 2013 National Budget Statement, Finance minister Tendai Biti said banks should issue mandatory debit cards to encourage use of plastic money.
He said Treasury would also commit resources towards promoting use of
e-banking platforms through point of sale facilities.