THE government has gazetted a Statutory Instrument (SI) to regulate mobile banking and money transmission in the country, apparently to back up the controversial decision to suspend all monetary transactions on phone-based platforms and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).
This comes as authorities have accused mobile platforms and the ZSE of fuelling the rampaging foreign currency black market that has seen the Zimbabwe dollar plummeting on a daily basis – with the recently launched exchange system failing to tame the armophous parallel market.
According to the new gazette – whose exact publication date has not been confirmed – any person who contravenes the regulations shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or to both.
The gazette further says it is mandatory for every money transmission provider and mobile banking provider to be connected to a national payment switch, as directed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
“For purposes of connecting to the national payment switch in terms of subsection (1), every money transmission provider and mobile banking provider shall install, deploy or commission such infrastructure and connection protocols, credentials and documentation necessary to enable integration with any recognised payment system in terms of the National Payment System Act [Chapter 24:23],” it adds.
The gazette also says every money transmission provider and mobile banking provider shall open and maintain a bank account that is designated exclusively for mobile banking services, and ensure that no money is transmitted or retained on the payment system without a corresponding correct bank balance.
The gazette further says every money transmission and mobile banking provider should ensure that no money is transmitted or retained on the payment system without a corresponding correct bank balance, and should submit periodic returns to the RBZ.
The periodic returns to the RBZ should include snapshots of the mobile account balance from the mobile money platform and core banking systems, all material developments or operational challenges, a reconciliation of the mobile account balances between mobile money platform and the core banking system, the values and volumes – including the cumulative total from the beginning of the year to date – among other things.
“Every money transmission provider and mobile banking provider must provide an audit report on the product after six months of operation, and annually thereafter.
“Every money transmission provider and mobile banking provider should allow the Reserve Bank read-only real time access to its payment system.
“Every money transmission provider and mobile banking provider must have policies and procedures for sound internal controls and risk management practices, including data protection and cyber security on an ongoing basis,” the gazette says further.
The gazette adds that every mobile transfer and mobile money provider must not accept a transaction request if the customer has entered an incorrect Personal Identity Number (PIN) or user Identification, has been suspended or barred from using the service of either party, a customer has exceeded daily, monthly or annual limits and if a customer activity is suspected to be fraudulent.
“Further, every money transmission provider and mobile money banking provider must not accept a transaction request from a customer if the customer has not yet registered (where registration is required) or has not been authorised or cleared to use the service or where authorisation has been withdrawn or suspended; the transaction amount requested by the customer is outside the minimum and maximum amounts for transaction which shall be specified from time to time by both parties,” the gazette says further.