Cross-border traders have successfully negotiated for the introduction of two debit cards that will be readily accepted both in South Africa and Zimbabwe.
South Africa is the country’s biggest trading partner.
The two cards, Visa Rand Travel card and Travelex Visa card, are expected to reduce risks on thousands of cross-border traders who carry cash around each time they conduct business outside the country.
The move to launch the product with a local bank follows the collapse of an initial deal with South African-based Selacor Group of companies late last year.
Two years after successfully adopting the multi-currency system, Zimbabwe’s financial sector does not have credit/debit cards that have regionally and international validity and acceptance.
A debit card or a bank card is a plastic card that provides an alternative payment method to cash when making purchases.
Cross-Border Traders’ Association president Killer Zivhu said: “We have negotiated with the local bank and the deal has been finalised.”
He said the card would be used in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
“This card will allow easy access to cash, fixed exchange rate and the card operates just like a debit card and can purchase at selected petrol stations.”
Zivhu said the cards would be accepted at more than 125 000 South African Visa merchants and more than 16 000 Visa automated teller machines (ATMs) in South Africa.
Among other security features the cards have a 24-hour support for lost or stolen cards.
Travelex Visa card is a prepaid product operating on the Visa platform worldwide. It is valid for three years from the date of activation.
The card can be issued to both account and non-account holders.
Zivhu said the Travelex Visa card allows cross-border traders a fly-and-pay-later facility, health and funeral cover and roadside emergency assistance and cards would also assist travellers in case they fall sick and need to access medical facilities. It also has a funeral cover.
Contacted for comment Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe vice-president George Guvamatanga said the introduction of a multi-currency environment saw the banking sector introducing basic products and services to customers.
He said banks introduced a number of card-based products, including international debit cards which can be used locally, regionally and internationally at ATMs and point of sale terminals.
“Currently there are no credit cards in the Zimbabwean market,” Guvamatanga said.
“For effective introduction of credit cards, there is a lot that needs to be done in terms of technological investments and the associated risk infrastructure and other supporting systems,” he said.
Guvamatanga said credit cards are launched in line with the development of the economy in which they operate.