The year 2019 saw Malawi’s appetite for cashless transactions booming, with records showing continued growth in daily average volumes and value of transactions.
Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) National Payment System (NPS) third quarter report shows that total volume of transactions processed through Malawi Interbank Transfers and Settlement System (Mitass) rose by 8.1 percent to 1.5 million whereas the corresponding total value of transactions declined by 13.6 percent to K7.4 billion during the same period.
Compared to the same period last year, the volume and value of transaction increased by 34.8 percent and 99.9 percent, respectively in the third quarter of 2019.
Reads the report in part: “During the review period, the total volume of transactions rose by 10.3 percent to K79.6 million whereas the corresponding value increased by 25.2 percent to K1.3 billion.
“The increasing trend of digital financial services transactions shows continued customer preference for modern means of making payments as opposed to cash.”
Along with the development, the subscriber base for non-bank mobile money services grew marginally by 1.3 percent to a total of 7.1 million subscribers.
Similarly, there was a rebound in the activity rate as it rose to 49.2 percent at the end of September 2019 from 37.4 percent in June 2019, showing that more mobile money subscribers used the service.
According to RBM data, reflective of this increase in number of subscribers, both the volume and value of Internet banking transactions rose by 16.6 percent and 21.5 percent to 562 225 and K728.1 billion respectively.
RBM spokesperson Mbane Ngwira said in an interview mobile money offers the lowest cost access means to formal financial services because people can transact funds from anywhere and anytime unlike where brick and mortar are concerned.
“Mobile money is easier to use than cards or Internet -based payments. Many people, even those in rural areas, are already familiar with the use of mobile phone; hence, they may require a limited amount of training on how to use the same mobile handset for financial transactions,” he said.
Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito said consumers have benefited from digital financial services, but called on authorities to remove unnecessary charges that prohibit consumers to use formal financial services. Information and Communication Technology Association of Malawi (Ictam) president Bram Fudzulani said the country needs to find other innovations that would encourage more people in the rural areas to fully embrace the digital payment platforms.