Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) says it is scaling up its efforts to promote usage of National Switch (Nat-Switch) to enhance electronic payment systems.
Nat-Switch is a platform that has made all automated teller machines (ATMs) in the country available to customers regardless of bank, providing an opportunity to the banking sector to connect to a larger payment ecosystem.
But three years on, the project which was funded by the World Bank under the five-year Financial Sector Technical Assistance Project (Fstap), uptake and usage of the system is minimal.
BAM chief executive officer Violette Santhe, in response to an e-mailed questionnaire said the association has among others reduced pricing to ensure that everyone is taken on board and to promote financial inclusion.
“Pricing was deliberately altered to encourage banks to acquire other banks transactions. With regard to charges, the current charges are actually only accommodating banks to break-even per transaction,” she said.
Santhe said since the reason for minimal uptake is mind-set shift since for years customers were being charged exorbitantly for the service, psychology makes it hard for them to switch but added that continued messages will overtime influence behaviour change.
“We also have increased and will continue to increase awareness to the nation through the National Taskforce for electronic Payments [Ntep] thus billboards, T-shirts, calendars, television plays and campaigns,” she said.
Santhe added that poor turnaround times (TATs) to resolve issues when the customer has an issue with a bank has also been a concern, saying they have put in place clear TAT’s that if not adhered will attract penalties.
On network issues which have also been an area of concern in the broader market and country as whole, she said through the Ntep, the association has engaged Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) to help hold service providers to account for any downtimes.
Meanwhile, Macra has hired a consultant to determine the costs incurred in doing business and cost models were developed based on the findings.
Macra communications manager Clara Mwafulirwa said they are coming up with regulations on various aspects of the ICT industry.