Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has said it will continue monitoring commercial banks on automated teller machines (ATM) downtime, a problem that is frustrating payment systems.
In the July 2014 National Payment System report released last week, the central bank has said it will continue urging commercial banks concerned to ensure that their ATMs are readily available against a backdrop of a decline in Visa card transactions.
According to available figures, the value of Visa card transactions processed through the local settlement system continued to decline due to ATM downtimes experienced by some commercial banks in July.
RBM said a total value of K139.3 million was processed through Visa cards in July, down by 2.8 percent compared to the previous month.
Earlier, the Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) complained that they would have loved if taxes were removed on ATM spare parts and ATMs, regardless of whether they are to be installed in urban or rural areas.
BAM further noted that modern banking platforms are electronic and integrated and, therefore, stable and reliable electricity and communication facilities are prerequisites to banking services, highlighting that the sector faces communication problems due to some poor quality, availability and reliability of the services.
Apart from the ATM downtime, the National Payment System report, noted that the volume of non-bank-led mobile money schemes—Airtel Money and TNM Mpamba—declined by 13.8 percent to K4.4 million in June from K5.1 million in May with the value of transactions falling by 11.3 percent to K3.9 billion during the same period due to temporary suspension of some types of transactions pending system upgrade to enhance security.
Regardless of the problems in ATM’s and non-bank mobile money, the central bank has said both the national and cross-border payments system remained stable during the period under review, allowing a smooth flow of funds in the economy.
The central bank has noted that tangible progress was also made on national payments infrastructure modernisation in preparation for the launch of the Automated Transfer System (ATS) on September 26 2014.
The RBM has further said cross-border payments, especially through Siress—a Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) Integrated Regional Electronic Settlement System—continued to increase, signifying its growing popularity among banks.
According to the central bank, the daily average volume of transactions through Siress increased by 15 percent to 23 transactions in July 2014, while the corresponding average daily value of transactions increased by 99.3 percent to about 4.8 million rand from about 2.4 million rand during the same period.