The increased use of plastic money (debit and credit cards) driven by the current cash challenges has propelled the volume of transactions processed through Point of Sale devices (POS) to 98 million in the first quarter of this year to March, up 45% from the final quarter of 2018 according to the National Payment Systems report.
Also, the value of POS transactions significantly increased by 68% compared to the final quarter of 2018 – that’s more than any other payment medium such as cheques, mobile and internet banking. The stats tell us that people are continously leaning towards cashless payments. A decline in both the volume and value of cash withdrawals implies that people no longer care much to make their payments using cash.
However, it’s debatable because instead of preferring cashless payments, the cash shortages may be the real reason why people are now being forced to make payments through POS devices. People have had to queue up for hours to get cash from banks so to be spared that ordeal, they just use ‘swipe’ at POS devices. Otherwise, besides the cash shortages people may still be keen to make cash payments.
For several years the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has been saying that it would continue to work on measures to improve the availability of cash, but at the same time it has been emphasising the need for Zimbabweans to use plastic money when transacting- which is increasingly happening. Now it looks like a cashless society is now upon us as cash payments now make up just 0.85% of the total volume of transactions and 2.37% of the total value of transactions.
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