• Nedbank Zimbabwe becomes the first AMEX Acquirer in Zimbabwe
  • 40% of tourists to Zimbabwe carry American Express cards
  • Amex Card Holders spend three times more than non-cardmembers

Harare - Nedbank Zimbabwe recently launched American Express merchant services in the country, becoming the first acquirer for the globally renowned card network. This landmark partnership provides Zimbabwe access to American Express's world-class payments network and unlocks major growth potential, especially in the vital tourism sector.

With American Express acceptance, Nedbank now enables merchants across Zimbabwe - including hotels, restaurants, retailers and tourism sites - to welcome American Express cardmembers. This is a gamechanger, considering around 40% of tourists to Zimbabwe carry American Express cards and tend to spend three times more than non-cardmembers.

Zimbabwe's tourism industry took a major hit from COVID-19, with receipts plunging from $1.4 billion in 2018 to just $360 million in 2020. A rebound has begun, climbing back to $911 million in 2022, but still short of pre-pandemic levels. The American Express rollout comes at an ideal time, as Zimbabwe tourism rebounds towards the $1 billion mark in 2023. By tapping into high-spending American Express cardmembers, merchants can unlock significant new revenues.

"We are committed to expanding acceptance for American Express card members around the world. This agreement with Nedbank will enable international American Express Card Members to use their Cards when travelling in Zimbabwe,” said Briana Wilsey, American Express's Vice President and General Manager for Global Network Services.

The partnership delivers major advantages for Zimbabwe merchants. They gain access to American Express's state-of-the-art reconciliation and settlement tools. Nedbank has launched an online portal where merchants can view transactions, download settlements, resolve disputes quickly, and manage operations efficiently.

Wider American Express acceptance also aids Nedbank's digital transformation and modernization journey throughout 2022. The bank hit 73% digital activation among clients, with mobile app downloads doubling. Nedbank deployed new tap-and-go enabled ATMs nationwide and enabled contactless 'tap & go' card transactions across merchants. This provides faster, more convenient digital payments with reduced physical contact.

Nedbank also enhanced its online banking platform, delivering self-service profile management and realizing a 47% rise in ZWL transactions and 196% increase in USD transactions online. API integrations were expanded to allow more corporate clients to initiate bulk, multi-user payments and collections directly from their ERP systems.

Regulatory technology was upgraded to enable automated testing, monitoring, filtering and risk management. Nedbank advanced financial inclusion by enabling thousands of SMEs onto its mobile banking app and providing ATM cards. This allowed small businesses to make payments anywhere and withdraw cash 24/7 in multiple currencies. An instant P2B payment solution was also launched on the app so SMEs could receive customer funds instantly.

In 2022 the bank also published a comprehensive SME Handbook both online and in print, guiding entrepreneurs on formalizing their operations and navigating banking, tax and regulatory compliance. Customer experience remained a top priority, with new service training, escalation processes, and omni-channel support. Nedbank added webchat, deployed in-branch tablets for digital service, and integrated channels for swift query resolution.

With this American Express launch, Nedbank unlocks a new era for Zimbabwe's payments landscape and its vital tourism sector. By embracing global digital trends and forging partnerships with renowned networks like Amex, Nedbank creates new growth opportunities for merchants and cardmembers alike. As tourism rebounds post-COVID, the American Express rollout comes at an ideal time to accelerate the industry's revival.

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