Local banks contribute US$2m to National Financial Switch

COMMERCIAL banks have contributed US$1, 862,000 towards the National Financial Switch (NFS) which is being implemented by the Zambia Electronic Clearing House (ZECHL) in collaboration with the Bank of Zambia (BoZ).

Bankers Association of Zambia (BAZ) chief executive officer, Leonard Mwanza, said  commercials banks were co-funders of the NFS project which was expected to be fully operational by June next year.

Mr Mwanza said in an interview that all of its 19 members had contributed US$98,000 towards the NFS project.

“We are co-funders of the project; each of our 19 members has contributed USD98,000 towards the national switch and the project is being implemented by the ZECHL.

“It is one avenue which will step up financial inclusion in the country while bringing innovation and efficiency that will allow people to easily pay for their goods and services using the e-payments platform through online banking, electronic funds transfers (EFTs), Point of Sales (POS) and  multi-channel mobile to mobile payments, ” he said.

He explained that the project, once implemented, would help increase the usage of digital payment channels and create a cash-light society to reduce the amount of cash circulating outside the banking system.

Mr Mwanza said this would also increase access points for banking services for the convenience of customers as they would no longer have to look for visa enabled point of sales (POS) or ATM to transact.

“Once the NFS is fully functional, all ATMs and POS for banks connected to the National Switch will be accessible by customers throughout the country regardless of whether the issued card is visa enabled or not.

Mr Mwanza said seven commercial banks were currently running internal connectivity tests and system upgrades in readiness for the user acceptance tests(UAT), which are expected to be completed by October this year.

He also said that banks were currently reviewing the operational rules for the National Switch.