BoZ launches new payment system for banks

A NEW payment system which will interlink all financial players in Zambia will soon be implemented by the Bank of Zambia (BoZ).

BoZ director of banking, currency and payments department Lazarus Kamanga said the system called “National Financial Switch (NFS)” was expected to be fully be up and running by June next year. Mr Kamanga said some of the features of NFS will include the payment cycle such as mobile money providers aimed at promoting efficiency in the cash industry

He was speaking in an interview at the just-ended 90th Agriculture and Commercial Show in Lusaka held under the theme “Managing the environment for economic growth”.

Mr Kamanga said the key objective of the NFS was to promote efficiency in the payment system cycle.

“As you may know currently, if you are on either Airtel or MTN Money, you cannot send across networks, each of the banks are putting on their own ATMs point of sale machines and so on.

“Now what the Switch is going to do is to interlink the various institutions and players in the payment area to ensure that the payments are cleared at a central place and transmitted to other parties as quickly as possible,” he said.

He said all the equipment needed for the implementation of the NFS had already been brought and configured.

Mr Kamanga explained that the central bank would this month begin to undertake User Acceptance Test (UAT) which was expected to be completed by October.

“What we are doing next is for us to start what we call User Acceptance Test which will be beginning this month and we are hoping it will be over by October and we think by February next year all the ATMs and point of sale machines will start connecting to the national Switch.

“We are hoping that by June next year, Mobile Money will also be interlinked, so we should be having this system up and running as soon as possible,” he said.

He said the NFS would reduce the time spent in electronic transfers.  “If you remember a cheque would take as long as 21 days but now its 24 hours, so when you make an electronic transfer in some place it is taking more than 48 hours, but once the Switch has been put in place, all these transactions will be taking just minutes,” he said.