(see update at end of article for matter of fact)
As you may already know, ZimSwitch revealed these past few weeks a mobile money platform called ZimSwitch Mobile that’s already being used by a couple of local banks. ZimSwitch has signed up a total of 12 banks to their shared services platform and the 12 make up about 85% of Zimbabwe’s banked population.
We recently communicated with ZimSwitch business development manager, Adam Roscoe, and he disclosed some news that will no doubt excite internet entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe. ZimSwitch is working to launch an internet payment gateway.
The gateway will work atop a service called ZIPIT, short for ZimSwitch Instant Payment Interchange Technology. Roscoe explained that ZIPIT is a funds transfer or person to person payments mechanism enabling all ZimSwitch Ready financial institutions to offer their customers the ability to send funds instantly to any other ZimSwitch Ready Institution, or to any registered cell phone in Zimbabwe.
In his communication Roscoe revealed that ATMs and “Internet based delivery channels should be available by the end of the year.”
The platform will become Zimbabwe’s first online payment gateway to allow traditional content producers to monetize their content online. It will also allow Zimbabwean businesses to trade online in a ‘brick and click’ fashion.
With Zimbabweans increasingly connecting to the internet, this is quite a welcome development and one set to make the internet a more useful tool in everyday business.
It is currently very difficult for Zimbabwean internet users to transact online. While a couple of banks have introduced the means through MasterCard and Visa, payments from Zimbabwe are still not accepted by the majority of US and EU based merchants online. US based global e-commerce company PayPal, blocks connections to their system from Zimbabwe.
update (28/10/2011): We just received information that part of the information in this article is not correct. While ZimSwitch is working on an internet payment gateway, ZIPIT has nothing to do with this platform. The Internet payment gateway is a separate service that will function in ways similar to PayPal. In the clarification ZimSwitch explained that all the new ZimSwitch services are designed around “inter-operability”, as in the ability for all banked individuals – regardless of what bank they use – to benefit from the services.