Yesterday, the 25th of September 2017, ZIPIT (Zimswitch Instant Payment Interchange Technology) went offline and as the interbank transfer processor has grown in popularity, panic gripped the populace. The facility which connects over 20 banks is integral to most people’s transactions especially as more and more Zimbabweans use mobile banking and plastic money.
As thousands failed to access ZIPIT many went on social media and started spreading the message that ZIPIT had been suspended. The deterioration being witnessed in the economy is the reason most people find it easy to believe the worst and so it spread that ZIPIT had indeed been scrapped.
ZIPIT however was not suspended. Zimswitch’s deputy general manager, Mr Zabron Chilakalaka spoke to the Herald and had this to say,
It has not been suspended or scrapped, from our end, ZIPIT is just undergoing a system upgrade. You will realise that before end of day today selected banks will be back up and running but by tomorrow everything will be sorted
It was yesterday that he spoke and sure enough by the end of the day yesterday some banks were already up. Today everything seems to be back to normal.
Our only gripe with them is that they should have communicated that there was a planned system upgrade. The banks surely should have known about the system upgrade and they should have communicated early. Surely there must be more to this than ZIPIT is letting on.
The real reason for the outage is probably system failure and not a planned system upgrade. If it was a planned upgrade they would have communicated that to the banks and they would have communicated to us. The banks are the ones that actually gave it away. They had no idea what was going on. Here is the message I got from my bank,
Please be advised that our service provider ZIMSWITCH is currently down. This is affecting POS transactions and Mobile banking. Kindly bear with us as ZIMSWITCH works to restore services.
Sometimes I feel these institutions like to say ‘any inconvenience is sincerely regretted’ but do not really mean it. In this case that apology was not even forthcoming from ZIMSWITCH. If they did not want to inconvenience us and were planning a system upgrade that would deprive of service they should have told us about it before. We would have planned accordingly.
I hate that ‘we are sorry for any inconvenience’ message. Their sorry does not help when you miss a payment that has a deadline, something that happened to me before. Had I been told beforehand I would have made arrangements.
ZIPIT has grown in importance as this push away from cash continues. The platform now processes over 14 million transactions per month and so any outage will cause mayhem. So next time ZIPIT, communicate beforehand.
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