The National Payments Systems report for the 3rd quarter of 2018 is now out and having taken a look at it here are some highlights:
- As expected cash payments dropped by 2% from the 2nd Of course they did; there’s no cash to begin with. The government has latched on to our lack of cash and turned that into a PR spin about being ahead of many other countries in Africa as we are a cashless or digital economy. I won’t comment too much on that but it suffices to say that this is the very same government that believes that the presence of fuel queues is a sign that fuel is available. Take that as you will.
Foreign Currency payments dip
- Foreign currency payments (unsurprisingly) fell by 33.75% to below a $1 billion.
This is not against the trend as every 3rd quarter since 2015 there has been a decrease in foreign currency payments. Going forward I expect this number to plummet further considering import duties for a number of products including vehicles will now be paid in forex which will definitely dent the sales of such products.
Finally catching up to the cashless economy talk
Looking at the trends it seems the infrastructure is finally catching up with the “cashless economy” tagline and here are some of the developments that support the governments talk in this regard
- More than 40k new POS machines since this time last year
- Close to 500K new debit cards
- Mobile banking subscribers grew by almost 100% from 3.8 million to 6.010 million
- Internet banking subscribers grew by close to 100k
The number of debit cards has risen exponentially and it’s one of the signs showing that most Zimbabweans have been left with no choice but to start paying through digital channels. Even if these very same digital payments seem to be punishing Zimbabweans with exorbitant transaction charges and nowadays an additional 2% tax pouring salt into the wound.