Last Friday CABS and ZB Bank notified their customers that there would be system downtime because of a planned system upgrade. CABS’ system upgrade ended up taking longer than expected.
While we could not really fault ZB Bank because they had communicated earlier we were not pleased that CABS’ upgrade took longer than anticipated eben though they communicated. People made arrangements basing on that official communication.
NMB Bank on the other hand had a system upgrade planned today, the 20th of October 2017. That is the official word the bank is dishing out, and they are sticking to it. One problem with that, if it was planned like you say, WHY DID YOU NOT COMMUNICATE THIS nhai NMB.
I do not believe for one second the system upgrade was planned. Why? When we asked the bank why they did not communicate the customer service person we talked to told us straight up that even they, the employees did not know about the system upgrade.
They are not sure how long the upgrade will take. They expect everything to return to normal by end of day today.
For almost the whole day today NMB customers have not been able to transact, they have not been able to swipe with their cards. If you call the bank you will be told, ‘sorry for the inconvenience caused.’
We have been here before. Just end last month ZIPIT had a system outage and they too played the same card NMB is playing. They claimed the system upgrade was planned but they had not communicated anything.
Zimbabwe has slowly been moving towards being a ‘cashless society’ and today only 20% of transactions are in cash. What it means is that we depend on these electronic systems like never before. Most of us do not carry cash any more and when we get these system downtimes we really could be stranded.
Looking at NMB today, imagine someone who has one bank account with NMB travelling from Beitbridge to Harare. Imagine that person being a model citizen who does not use cash but swipes for everything. That person would be in trouble. How would they swipe at tollgates for example? How would they purchase more fuel? NMB says the downtime could be resolved end of day, that’s how long our traveler would have to wait at the first tollgate from Beitbridge.
As it is in Zimbabwe, with all these systems failing every now and then, EcoCash, bank systems and ZIPIT, one is forced to have multiple accounts to be able to survive. That way our traveler could transfer money from the NMB account to EcoCash or another bank that is not down and then pay using that other option. The traveler would of course have to bear the transaction charges.
We once said EcoCash and ZIPIT should know the power they have, these system outages are not acceptable. Now we have to address the banks as well.
Banks, EcoCash and ZIPIT, get your act together. These system outages are not acceptable. Sometimes these outages occur at the worst opportune time and people miss once-in-a-lifetime deadlines or are stranded in far off places.
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