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Zimswitch partners with VISA to accelerate digital payments in Zimbabwe

Zimswitch, a mobile platform player in Financial services, VISA, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) 15%, Mid Term Monetary Policy Statement

The country’s National Switch and clearinghouse, Zimswitch has followed up its union with Mastercard by announcing a partnership with Visa. At face value, the Visa and Zimswitch relationship looks much like what we saw with the latter and Mastercard. However, the motivation behind Zimswitch and Visa joining forces looks to be driven by the rise in e-commerce.

What is Visa x ZimSwitch offering?

As I am sure you are all aware (and I have banged on this drum for a good long while now so you’d be forgiven for rolling your eyes), e-commerce has taken off globally. More and more services are finding their way onto the web than ever before because of the pandemic.

In light of this shift, Zimswitch and Visa are partnering to offer Zimbabweans EMV chip cards that will be functional both domestically and internationally. The cards will, of course, carry the Zimswitch and the VISA logos.

These cards will enable you to buy online make mobile payments, and to perform QR code transactions.

“Zimswitch is delighted to partner with Visa at a time when the country is witnessing tremendous growth in electronic payments. We believe this partnership will inspire confidence and encourage further investment in our region”

Cyril Nyatsanza, CEO Zimswitch

Speculation time…

Now, the press release was pretty brief but we imagine that this service might be angled more to NOSTRO accounts. By that I mean with the re-dollarisation of the economy United States dollars is the only currency that people want to trade in.

If our suspicion is correct, this might be repeating an innovation that is already on the market. I am sure that many of you have got or have thought of getting a USD Prepaid card.

As previously mentioned, Zimbabwe is in dollarisation version 2.0, so if you want to pay for online services you will have already gotten a USD prepaid card from EcoBank, BancABC, FBC, CABS and many others.

Offering that service through NOSTRO accounts doesn’t look to be necessary at this point. It’s far easier to get a USD Prepaid card than it is to apply for a NOSTRO account for the most part. Banks like FBC, Nedbank and NMB, to their credit, have made it easier to apply for a NOSTRO account through USSD and bank apps. However, it is something that should be an industry standard but hasn’t quite gotten there.

This is in stark contrast to BancABC, for example, which will deliver the card to your house through its virtual Branch X.

If anything a partnership between Zimswitch and Visa should have included the provision that it would make it infinitely easier to buy online with your local currency card.

I should stress that this is speculation and the hope is that when more details of the Zimswitch and Visa partnership emerge, we will hopefully see something for Zimbabwean companies and services that are offering services online.

Making payments for them (in local currency) seamless and easy will encourage even more people to make the push to digital. I could go on about this but luckily my colleague wrote what I think is an excellent piece about what Zimswitch should do concerning local currency payments online and you can find that article with the link here.


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5 thoughts on “Zimswitch partners with VISA to accelerate digital payments in Zimbabwe

  1. I AM GOING TO WRITE WITH ALL CAPS TO SHOW MY FRUSTRATION. HOW CAN WE SERIOUSLY TALK ABOUT E-COMMERCE WHEN ALL INTERNATIONAL PLATFORMS ARE ONE WAY DOORS? THEY ARE ALL DESIGNED TO SIPHON FOREIGN CURRENCY OUT OF AFRICA, AND BRING NONE INTO AFRICA. ALL THESE PLATFORMS DO IS ENABLE YOU TO MAKE PAYMENTS. WHY CAN’T WE LOBBY AS AFRICA TO ENABLE OURSELVES TO REVEIVE PAYMENTS IN FOREIGN CURRENCY AS WELL???

    1. So true ,many of us want to get paid in foreign currency but this is a scheme to steal the little we have

  2. Hard to have a local currency Visa card where there is no (favorable) official exhange rate.

  3. We need some mechanism to sell our things electronically but mostly it’s the reserve of big institutions that are able to sell stuff to other countries but why there’s no and absolutely no way we will get that unless we set up platforms that enable us to do so in a favorable market that actually wants us to benefit in that way we all benefit both thebig guys and us the small fish in the pond …itsawin win for all …but basing on current environment there’s little manufacturing we can do it a pity we can but we just don’t know exactly why we depend so much on the foreign platforms ….is it publicity or we jus don’t have the stuff to sell

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