The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is set to distribute 50 000 point of sale machines across the country as it moves to promote use of plastic money in the country.
Addressing delegates at a Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers’s organised plastic money campaign in Gokwe, RBZ Deputy Director Financial Markets Josephat Mutepfa said the country continues to record an increase in the uptake of electronic payments.
“The central bank, together with the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers, has embarked on a program to promote the use of credit and bank debit cards in the rural areas to ease the country’s cash shortages.
“The idea is that by December this year, about 50 000 Point of Sale machines will be in circulation so as to reduce queuing at banks
“We want people to people to start appreciating the use of plastic money so as to ease the cash shortages. As a result we have engaged stakeholders to review bank charges in order to attract more people to embrace the use of plastic money,” he said
Mutepfa however, said the acceptance and use of plastic money in Zimbabwe has not been easy as people shun away from the system due to high bank charges being charged by banks.
“I think the topical issue has been the issue of interest on bank account. The other issue is where do we get point of sale? The other issue is mainly, the issue of the unknown. People are not very confident in using new systems. And we also get a lot of questions from the people when we are out here which we take into account in terms of policy direction into the future,” said Mutepfa.
He revealed that plans are underway to ensure banks reintroduce bank interest system to attract more cash deposits.
Denford Mutashu, President of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers expressed concern over retail shops habit of charging premium prices to consumers intending to use plastic money.
Mutashu said retailers were severely affected by cash shortages adding that consumers’ concerns should be addressed to improve use of plastic money.
“The reason why we are here is to engage. If it is bad business practice to charge premium price on customers using plastic money, we also educate them. Where it require authorities, then we have to do that,” said Mutashu.
Zimbabwe has been facing an acute cash shortage and the introduction of bond notes has not helped the situation.