14 May 2019
The Bank of Zambia is working on a project to link up all mobile money service providers across the country.
It is being carried out in collaboration with the Zambia Electronic Clearing House Limited (ZECHL) and implemented under the National Financial Switch (NFS), an electronic platform which will link all mobile money operators to increase financial inclusion among the over 60 per cent unbanked Zambian nationals.
The NFS is being established under the National Payment System with the aim of linking with other payment systems (individual operators’ payment systems) without undue restrictions.
According to the Bank of Zambia, providers of payment system services will set pricing structures (under Bank of Zambia and ZICTA supervision) that “are cost reflective, affordable and do not prohibit the consumers from accessing payment systems”.
Lazarus Kamanga, Bank of Zambia director of banking, currency and payments systems said currently there is no way for mobile money clients of Airtel Zambia, MTN Zambia and Zamtel to send money to competitor operator networks. He added that the NFS (the electronic platform) is expected to go live by June 2019 under the second phase of the project.
The first phase involved linking up the country’s banks to electronic payment system including automated teller machines (ATMs) and point of sale (PoP) machines.
Latest statistics from the Bank of Zambia showed that the number of mobile money customers stood at over four million.