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Banking sector turning to mobile banking, e-commerce

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THE country’s banking sector is fast turning to mobile banking and electronic commerce (e-commerce) as information (IT) redefines the traditional financial services sector.

KUDZAI CHIMHANGWA
BUSINESS REPORTER

The advent of new communication technologies and mobile money transfer has forced banks to adapt or risk closure.

ABC Holdings chief financial officer Beki Moyo said the bank was relatively quite advanced as far as IT is concerned but said priority is presently being accorded to mobile banking.

“If you look at our mobile banking platform, we are a bit behind the curve but we will be rolling out in the next two quarters and it should be a very robust system,” Moyo said.

He said the bank had already done a Request for Proposal and would soon be choosing a service provider in the next couple of weeks.

“Given that mobile as a platform has gone ahead of banks, Internet banking and others we think that it’s a platform that we really need. ATM [automated teller machines] Card usage is very high, our target is to operate within 98% of uptime and in the last year or so we have achieved that,” said Moyo.

A substantial number of people in African countries remain unbanked, a situation which challenges banks on how best to access them.

Consumers across the world are increasingly substituting physically visiting stores and banks for the convenience of online shopping and banking, as this has become a more popular and safe option.

It is envisaged that as bandwidth costs decrease and internet usage improves in Zimbabwe, e-commerce will become an integral component of the economy.

ZB Holdings plans to increase profit contribution to its portfolio through focusing on electronic channels, as more clients continue turning to e-commerce.

The group noted that usage of electronic channels was on the increase as ATM card usage increased by 14%.

Cards in circulation increased by 27% to 264 000.

In its results for the half year ended June 30 2014, the bank said technology will play a key part in service delivery going forward and capital expenditure on technology would increase in the short term.

The group has also deployed resources for a refresh of front facing technologies already and optimisation of current services to reduce service costs.

ZB Holdings said it would also be facilitating integrated payments for an increasing number of business partners with several measures to increase operational efficiencies currently underway.

The group noted that the impacts of these measures are expected in the medium term.

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