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National switch usage on the rise

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Malawians are slowly embracing the concept of ATM interoperability with latest figures showing a jump in the number of customers transacting on other bank’s machines.

This is according to the latest National Payment System (NPS) report released by the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).

The March 2018 NPS report shows that the National Switch ATM platform continued to register good progress in terms of usage with volume of inter-bank ATM transactions rising by 15.8 percent to 208,843 and value rising by 20.3 percent to K 5.4 billion.

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At its inception stage, the initiative had received a lukewarm welcome by consumers.

According to RBM, the rise is mainly due to the fact that bank customers are increasingly making use of the interoperability of the ATMs.

The report further shows that progress has also been made to integrate all Point of Sale (POS) services onto the Switch with four out of a total of six banks that offer POS services connected to the switch.

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“We expect the remaining banks to complete their integration by June 2018. Apart from these two payment services, the Switch is also expected to further connect mobile payments and internet banking services by end of 2018,” indicates the report.

In the month under review, subscriber base for mobile banking schemes was reported to be on the rise as it increased by 12.4 percent to 525,039.

Despite this increase, usage declined as both the volume and value of bank-led mobile payments decreased by 5.9 percent and 4.3 percent to 1.7 million and K18.0 billion, respectively.

Funds transfers continue to dominate in terms of value as they contributed 92.3 percent to the total value of transactions whilst bill payments and airtime purchases dominated in terms of volume accounting for 81.3 percent of the total during the period.

RBM says the total number of internet banking subscribers increased by 9.5 percent to 76,858 in March 2018, with the total volume of transactions registering a modest increase of 1.7 percent to 121,723 transactions and the corresponding value of transactions declined by 3.5 percent to K66.1 billion.

“The subscription of internet banking services is however very low if considered against the total number of bank accounts, and this can be explained by the general apathy towards this particular type of service by account holders as many regard it as more sophisticated than alternatives such as mobile banking,” suggests RBM in the report.

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