Surge in RTGS usage boost NPS payments to ZW$1.24 trillion

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  • RTGS accounted for 64.85% of the total transaction value
  • Internet-based transactions increased by 29% to ZW$216.69 billion
  • Accelerated digital transformation will further heighten cashless payments
  • Total volumes decreased by 29% to 338.5 million

HARARE – The value of transactions processed through the National Payment Systems (NPS) in the quarter ending 31 March 2021 increased by 9% to ZWL$1.24 trillion from ZWL$1.13 trillion recorded in the previous quarter ending 31 December 2020, data from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe shows.

NPS are the conduits through which buyers and sellers of financial products and services make transactions and are an important component of a country’s financial system.

Unsurprisingly, cashless payments such as the RTGS, Mobile and Point of Sale continue to dominate Zimbabwe’s payment system as cash shortages persist. The financial services industry is also in the midst of significant digital transformation accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is set to further heighten cashless payments.

According to RBZ data, the value of transactions processed through the RTGS system increased by 9% to ZWL$802.31 billion during the period under review compared to previous quarter while the volume decreased by 14% to 2.64 million in the same period, accounting for 64.85% of the total.

Internet transactions at ZW$216.69 billion accounted for 17.51% of the total value of transactions after growing by 29% from the previous quarter value of ZW$168.11 billion.

Mobile and POS transactions decreased by 7% and 5% to ZW$116.31 billion and ZW$72.50 billion respectively and accounting for 9.40% and 5.86% of total transaction values in that respective order.

Cash transactions accounted for 1.74% of the total value after increasing by 5% from ZW$20.60 billion in the last quarter to ZW$21.54 billion while nothing was processed through the Cheque system.

Cumulative volumes decreased by 29% to 338.5 million from 473.3 million during the same period, reflecting depressed economic activity due to COVID-19.

RBZ highlighted that SWIFT foreign currency payments decreased by 5% to $1.14 billion for the period under review from $1.20 billion in the previous quarter ending 31 December 2021.

“During the same period, SWIFT foreign currency receipts decreased by 16% to $0.86 billion from $1.04 billion,” said the Central Bank.

The net foreign currency outflow increased by 68% to $274.36 million from 162.95 million recorded in the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, the value of cash withdrawals increased by 5% from ZWL$20.59 billion in the quarter ending 31 December 2020 to ZWL$21.54 billion recorded in the quarter ending 31 March 2021.

RBZ also noted that the aggregate values of retail transactions increased by 9.81% to ZW$434.93 billion in the period under review from ZW$396.09 billion recorded in the quarter ended December 2020.

There were 6.4 million active mobile financial services subscribers registered in the period under review from 5.2 million registered subscribers recorded in the previous quarter ending December 2020.

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