ZimSwitch to provide internet payment gateway for Zimbabwe

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(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.



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17 Comments

  1. Tinashe DiTinman Mutangadura

    This is good for sure has there been any release of the requirements of the message passing format in which it will accept . Am posting this so that as soon as it is up i will know. Am very interested in this cause have done a few projects related to this and have not been able to make it functional due to the lack of funds transfer capabilities in the Zimbabwean market.

    Reply
  2. ngth

    Nice development but success seems to depend on who you can interact with (I presume local banks only, but that is fine as long as there are enough on board) and what the cost will be.

    Reply
  3. Greg Chiponda

    if this materializes this year, this will be the greatest step towards a the digital economy in Zimbabwe. Thumbs up to Zimswitch team, it might initially be expensive but as the market grows and other e-payment platforms come into the Zimbabwe web economy, prices will come down.

    Reply
  4. Alinstein

    This Zipit of yours will do nothing particularly life-changing.
    The way this Zipit is proposed to work hardly makes it a competitive substitute to paypal you so love. paypal is international., and aceppts international cards. Zipit is no different from maestro in the UK and other nation-specific payment platforms. in South Africa they have a new local payment platform called Payfast. It is national, but not international.

    As long as Zipit is for local businesses only, it will not provide the critical mass you need to build a solid, powerful online business. I would have been excited if ZimSwitch was going to accept VISA and Mastercard. let’s hope it will.

    Right now we have ZimSwitch Mobile which is being ofered by, now about 10 banks. Each is ZimSwitch offering is branded differently and offered differently. For example, Kingdom calls it cellcard. Cabs calls it Textacash. telecel calls it Skwama.All these have different fuctionalities and are not interconnected for seamless transactions. For example, if you send money with CABS’s textacash to a Kingdom Cellcard user, the money will not go directly into the Kingdom cellcard account of the user. This is what is happening with this so-called ZimSwitch mobile.

    Plus people stress over Paypal as if it is everything. paypal serves only 23% of the online buyers and not all buyers are able to use paypal, but everyone can use credit cards.

    Reply
  5. George

    I think this article is slightly off the pace.. ZIPIT as i understand it is a new transaction set as in the simple ability to transfer money from either a bank account to a different bank, or to a cellphone.. 

    I dont think ZIPIT is linked to the online payments gateway mentioned above. From the Telecel press conference a few weeks ago i was led to believe that the whole driving force of the Zimswitch platforms was to create nationwide interoperability… As in the ability to perform transactions regardless of what bank you belong to and what channel you use… 

    For example Cell Card and Skwama mentioned in Alinstein’s comment are not Zimswitch linked platforms… 

    Reply
  6. Iwirelesstechnologies

    lets get thingz rite the first time all the time, Some people might make decisions based on your material!

    Reply
  7. Harrison Ford, Air Force One

    QUOTE -”

    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.

    -END OF QUOTE

    TODAY IS 22 DECEMBER 2011. THIS ZIMSWITCH INTERNET PAYMENT SYSTEM IS STILL NOT UP, OR I HAVE NEVER HEARD THAT IT IS UP. I HAVE SEARCHED YOUR SITE AND THERE IS NOTHING.

    I AM PLEASED TO SAY I SELL MY OWN STUFF WORLDWIDE AND ON MY OWN WEBSITE PEOPLE CAN BUY MY STUFF USING VISA, MASTERCARD, PAYPAL AND OTHERS. MOST PEOPLE ARE LAZY TO RESEARCH AND TO DO SOMETHING. EVEN IF YOU ARE IN ZIM YOU CAN STILL ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS, AND EVEN PAYPAL PAYMENTS. PAYPAL ITSELF IS NOT IN ZIMBABWE AND PAYPAL WILL NOT DEAL WITH ZIMBABWE, BUT WHERE THERE IS A WILL THERE IS A WAY. I DO IT, AND SO CAN ANYONE. BUT THE PROBLEM IS PEOPLE HERE, MOST ARE TOO LAZY TO RESEARCH HOW TO SELL STUFF WORLDWIDE. THEY HAVE PAYPAL BLINKERS, AND WHEN THIS ZIMSWITCH THING KICKS, THEY SO-CALLED “DEVELOPERS” WILL TELL YOU IT IS USELESS BECAUSE IT IS NOT WORLDWIDE LIKE PAYPAL.

    WHEN THIS ZIMSWITCH THINGS COMES, WHEN IT DOES, WE SHALL SEE.

    “SO WHY DON’T YOU TELL EVERYONE” YOU ASK

    WELL, PEOPLE SHOULD GET INTO THE HABIT OF RESEARCHING THINGS AND DOING THINGS FOR THEMSELVES.

    AND SECONDLY, I WISH TO KEEP MY BUSINESS PRIVATE, AT LEAST NOW I DO.

    THANK YOU.

    BY THE WAY, I EVEN KNOW ANOTHER ZIMBABWEAN SITE I FOUND ON THE NET THAT ACCEPTS MAJOR CARDS JUST LIKE MINE, AND IT IS ZIMBABWEAN, AND I HAVE EVEN TALKED TO THE GUYS.

    THERE ARE PEOPLE LIKE -BLESS THEIR NAME – ZIMAZON THAT HAVE RECEIVED WIDE PUBLICITY TO A POINT WHERE MOST PEOPLE HERE THINK THEY ARE THE FIRST TO DO ONLINE BUSINESS, I WAS LONG DOING IT BEFORE THEM. I AM SURE YOU KNOW THAT NOT EVERYONE WHO SENDS STUFF, EVEN TO TECHZIM WILL BE PUBLISHED.

    MANY PEOPLE I KNOW ARE QUIETLY DOING WHAT MANY HERE THINK IS “THE IMPOSSIBLE”

    Reply

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