Zimswitch accelerates digital payments adoption in Zimbabwe as it celebrates 30-year milestone

Zimswith CEO Zabron Chilakalaka
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Zimswitch, a company founded in 1994 has over the years registered exponential growth in transaction volumes due to the increase in the adoption of digital payments in the country now boasting of making up more than 75% of all card-based transactions in Zimbabwe.

This comes as Zimswitch celebrates its 30th anniversary through a refresh of its brand identity.

The company this year celebrates three decades of enabling financial interoperability, powering digital payments, and promoting financial inclusion in Zimbabwe.

“As we celebrate the 30th Anniversary milestone, we take this opportunity to express our gratitude to our invaluable stakeholders for their unwavering support over the years. We are committed to upholding Zimswitch’s role as the National Payment switch, remaining a steadfast and active participant in the economy.

“Our focus on modernisation and the promotion of digital payments adoption in the country is unwavering, and the brand refresh serves as a testament to this renewed dedication.” – Mr. Wonder Nyabereka, Chairman of the Board

“The new brand identity and the purpose, vision, mission, and values reflect our continued commitment to innovation and progress as a pioneer in the payments technology industry. The evolution marks a fusion of our rich history with a forward-looking approach to meet the ever-evolving local and international financial ecosystem,” chief executive officer Zabron Chilakalaka said.

The grand idea of establishing Zimswitch was pre-conceived through a vision of a progressive movement of eliminating unnecessary industry competition by fostering collaborations through payment infrastructure sharing in the financial ecosystem.

Founded on trust, in 1994 Zimswitch was established through a nexus of minds between the partnering financial institutions Beverly Building Society (now merged into CBZ), Barclays Bank (now First Capital Bank), CABS, Founders Building Society (now ZB Bank), Stanbic and Zimbank (now ZB Bank).

In 1996 two members joined the partnership (Time Bank and Jewel Bank, now CBZ). What appeared impossible, which was the collaboration and working together of industry participants to solve the permeating challenge of scarcity of ATMs and Point of Sale infrastructure was achieved through this synergy with the first ATM and POS transactions processed in 1995 and 1996 respectively.

The company’s proficiency in providing robust and efficient payment infrastructure saw it being designated as the National Payment Switch role by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in 2020.

“This mandate reinforced our call to pioneer digital payments transformation in Zimbabwe, ensuring ubiquitous products and service provision in the country. True to the call, we did not relent, in 2021 we introduced the Contactless Card supported by Near Field technology, a first of its kind in the region redefining the way customers make payments through the tap to pay for faster checkout.

“This was followed by the introduction of a 3D secure e-commerce platform in 2023. In addition, the switch enabled multi-currency and Zig processing.,” Zimswitch Head of Strategy, Business Development and Projects Michael Chauruka said.

The digital payments innovation agenda did not end there, the game-changing bulk payment EFT solution (ZEEPAY) was introduced in 2021 bringing efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and security. The solution has been widely adopted both by corporates and state enterprises since its rollout.

Recently, Zimdef rolled out the solution to its partners, and according to the ZIMDEF Chief Executive Officer ‘businesses need to be agile and digitise payment processes for effective reconciliation and ZEEPAY has been the best-in fit solution for Zimdef levy pay outs and improvement of the ease of doing business between ZIMDEF and its clients.

‘Zimswitch’s primary objective is to solve the daily challenges consumers face when transacting as consumers are increasingly seeking for secure, instant, and seamless digital payment experience. The ZIPIT solution which was introduced in 2011 has become a household name in the payments industry allowing customers to transact instantly across banks and mobile wallets promoting financial inclusion and bringing millions of mobile money subscribers to the mainstream financial services,” Mr Chilakalaka added.

Over the years, the company has remained committed to developing market-relevant digital payment solutions that offer value to consumers and the wider ecosystem.

Our latest E-Commerce innovation has enabled businesses, SMEs, and large corporates to optimize consumer shopping experience through a simplified way of paying goods and services online using Zimswitch debit cards.

According to Paynow Chief Executive Officer Vusi Ndebele, “prior to the launch of Zimswitch Online, only a small proportion of the local banked population was able to complete e-commerce purchases directly from their bank account and even they had to endure a sub-optimal User Experience. The shortcomings led consumers to transfer funds across alternative payment rails with considerable friction and cost. The new solution sustainably addresses the current challenges of coverage, cost and user experience. Paynow is proud to have partnered with Zimswitch to successfully enable the solution for over 15,000 Paynow e-commerce merchants without any intervention on the part of the merchant or the consumer. If you’re a Paynow Merchant, you already are enabled for Zimswitch Online!”

In powering transactions through green energy, the company continues to embed sustainable and responsible practices across its business operations and communities to deliver fair outcomes to all its stakeholders.

“With a focus on environmental sustainability in 2019, a solar power station was commissioned to promote renewable energy use, and the company relies heavily on green energy to power all electronic transactions in the country with excess feed into the national grid. Our drive is to contribute to the global net zero emission target’,” Zimswitch Head of Technologies Itai Tsoro said.

In recent years, there has also been a significant increase in remittances through the diaspora corridor. This can be attributed to the growing demand for convenient and cost-effective remittance services.

Zimswitch, as a national payment switch, aims to provide cutting-edge technology for instant cross-border payments at a minimal cost, promoting inclusivity within the country.

As the market progresses, convenience becomes the goal, with an emphasis on frictionless transactions and instant payments. Zimswitch aims to deliver convenience to merchants and customers, both small and large, through supporting an array of payment options, including QR payments and moving beyond traditional card-based transactions to various credentials.

Looking ahead, Zimswitch is geared to deliver innovative solutions to meet evolving needs and demands in the market. To this end, the Company has set up a digital lab for the development of in-house and co-created solutions with fintechs.

About Zimswitch

Zimswitch is Zimbabwe’s National electronic payments switch and the leading payments technology company in the country. Our vision is to be part of every payment locally and internationally. We work smartly and efficiently to promptly deliver secure technological solutions to our clients and stakeholders. Our state-of-the-art switching platform connects all financial institutions, sponsored participants, businesses, and consumers to the exciting world of digital payments. Understanding that the future is digital, we have placed innovation at the core of everything we do to remain ahead as we lead our customers on the digital journey. For more information about Zimswitch, visit us on our website here, and follow us on X @Zimswitchtech and Facebook and Linked In; Zimswitch Technologies-Pvt Ltd.

Source: Herald