Are Zimbabweans ready for exclusive internet banking?

So three banks have gone exclusive with internet banking or mobile banking when it comes to processing RTGS and internal transfers. First, it was NMB when they switched to just internet and mobile banking then ZB Bank followed along in early September and for them, transfers are now only done through internet banking. Recently, Steward Bank joined the club and now their transfers are only done through mobile banking or internet banking.

All these changes have brought about different opinions from people who have encountered the information. Most of the contributions from people revolve around the question are Zimbabweans ready for internet banking as the only option for them to make transactions as is in the case of these banks.

Yes, some of them offer mobile banking which can be done through USSD code and they also have mobile apps you can use but the apps require you to have an active internet connection. So of the 3 methods that are available (on average) to make transfers, 2 of them require you to have an internet connection. Which brings us back to that questions since the solutions heavily rely on the internet. Let’s take a look at the different views.

Exclusive really is exclusive with internet banking

Well, when we say that they have gone exclusive with mobile or internet banking, it’s more than just that that’s what they are only offering for you to do RTGS transfers, it involves people also. Just by the act of going exclusively internet, the banks have already excluded some people who are not that familiar with internet as a technology banking let alone the internet banking service. Consider what some people said below.

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Some of the comments like how it’s discriminating the generation of people that aren’t that internet savvy might seem extreme. However, the person does bring a valid point, can the banks train a dozen grandmothers or grandfathers to use internet banking? Just a dozen. Imagine increasing this number to include all the grandmothers and grandfathers who have bank accounts?

Maybe they don’t need to be trained since their children can just process everything for them? What about the next concern raised by the other person, you might not always have access to the internet so it then seems like the banks didn’t think this through? What will you do if you have a critical payment to make and you’re nowhere near an internet connection? I mean people recently felt the power EcoCash has over their day to day transaction when it went down, now imagine no internet, no EcoCash…

Change has to come one way or another, might as well force internet banking on you

Well, yes they could be excluding other people but change has to come one way or another and sometimes, waiting for the people who don’t yet understand the new technology will just limit progress. So should the technology just be forced on everyone so that the collective banking system moves forward? Someone definitely thinks so, consider the below comment that came after Steward Bank moved to being exclusive to mobile and internet banking.

we all need to force people, coz some are just rejecting because they are technophobic. remember we did not go to school to learn how to use our phones. of cause going exclusively without notifying is bad – Gideon (commenting on Steward Bank goes exclusive with mobile and online banking, no more manual transfers article)

This person makes a very valid point also, some people are just afraid of what they don’t know. So just bring the scary thing to them then you can teach them how to not be scared of the new technology and how to use it. This is very similar to Bitcoin, not many people in Zimbabwe understand what it is but it’s already being used now and people are getting educated about Bitcoin as things go along.

So should the education come first then the change? Or should they happen at the same time? Or maybe just bring the change with no other options and educate afterwards? so what do we do then given how what we wish for may not be what reality is demanding us to do?

The ground doesn’t always map to the ideal scenario

Now, this is one of those articles where I won’t tell you the answer to the question. Instead, I would like us to discuss this, whether it is in the comments section or on Twitter or even Facebook, let us know your views about this. What do you think is the case. Are Zimbabweans ready for exclusive internet banking or they are not?

Should the changes come slowing instead of just cutting out all other possible methods of doing RTGS transfers in hopes that people will adapt? The reason it’s better to discuss (which is always better anyways) is that the ground doesn’t always map to the ideal situation. For example, data is not the most affordable thing for Zimbabweans.

So imagine now, you got to buy airtime to do the transactions of which you’ll be charged again so you’re literally incurring double expenses. Another thing is that not everyone who has a bank account has internet access, some people would even argue that the majority don’t have a constant working internet connection.

You see, as much as it is great to have all banks just offer internet banking, it might not be the best thing when we look at the ground. However, Zimbabweans might actually be ready for it? Maybe bringing this drastic change will affect data prices for the better? Maybe the apps will be zero-rated on the mobile operator networks then the cost of access won’t be a problem?

Let us know what you think. Let’s discuss this, in the end, you might just come up with a solution to bringing new technology while still not excluding other people to basic financial access. So two questions: Are Zimbabweans ready for exclusive mobile or internet banking or any method of banking which requires an internet connection? and how do you think the changes should be brought about if they’re ready and if they’re not ready?

Steward BankNMBEcoCash

Steward Bank, is a commercial bank registered and trading in Zimbabwe. Founded as TN Bank in 2001, it later re-branded in 2013, after majority shareholding was bought by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, becoming the banking partner/platform that EcoCash runs on. Read More About Steward Bank

Read More About NMB

EcoCash is a mobile money transfer facility which is run by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe. The facility has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception and is arguably the largest mobile money transfer agent considering the huge sums of transactions that the platform is said... Read More About EcoCash

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6 Comments

  1. G says:

    A necessary evil to stop manual rtgs, they should just introduce cash accepting atm’s to facilitate bank deposits at atms for those who are not internet savvy

    plus can also assist people inside the branch to perform a transfer

  2. Danny says:

    Guys lets move on ,people will learn as we go as for me i support exclusivity 110% ,this thing of just denying innovations should stop.Now we see many Gogos on whats ,did Whats app Train those Gogos or did Samsung came door to door training them to use android. Dont criticize for the sake of it.If they dont know internet let them use Kambudzi.Next

  3. Danny says:

    If you say what will happen when you dont have an internet access remember banks dont open 24hrs .

  4. Imi Vanhu Musadaro says:

    Internet banking and mobile banking are very welcome. People will come to use them more and more over time, but, banks must do more to ease it’s use. Most of the internet banking and mobile platforms do not have easily available manuals/cheatsheets on how to get started or do common transactions. Public relations work is just done to get individuals registered, not to teach them how to use the tools. Their systems generally still require a call to customer care to get things done. With NMB internet banking, I recall trying to make a DSTV payment and the system wouldn’t accept the full smart card number (neither can you copy and paste it in ? ), on calling customer care they said to input the first 10 digits only, their system will still link the account. How was I to guess that? Again, when doing an online transfer, it insisted that the recipient account number must be 13 long. After a call to customer care, I needed to “just” pad the account number with zeros till I have 13 digits. It’s not easy to figure that out. Each online transaction thus possibly incurs an additional airtime cost to the client. All this could be avoided with simple validation changes to their systems. Banks must also scrap unnecessary charges on their platforms. Mobile banking seems more like a plan to harvest money from clientele. Some banks charge up to 50c for a mobile balance enquiry or mini-statement, the same price as a 90 day statement printed on as many pages at takes in the bank. The weirdest thing is that some of these paid services on mobile banking are free on internet banking, yet the bank still promote the mobile platform use first.

  5. Cheated says:

    If the banks are doing this….I assure you there’s money involved…. Why don’t the offer an incentive 50% off online rtgs compared to manual… Now they can charge us the same and fire someone…. Plus just think about it… If everyone checks their balance on mobile banking once a week at 5c…. Hundreds of thousands… Secondly this practice of not announcing any changes…. It’s as if they don’t care about their clients

  6. clive says:

    surprised this is only news now, banks like Ecobank have been exclusive for quite a long while now and there hasn’t been any chalenges.

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