National Switch (Nat Switch) linked automated teller machines (ATMs) cash withdrawals markedly increased in July 2016, with records indicating 168 381 withdrawals amounting to K3.1 billion, according to the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).
This represents a 45 percent increase compared to June, when 116 000 ATM transactions were recorded amounting to K2 billion, a 51.5 percent increase in value, showing that people are now embracing Nat Switch.
Nat Switch, an initiative of RBM, is a shared switch platform which connects the country’s commercial banks, banking operations, ATMs, Point of Sale (PoS) devices, mobile banking, e-banking transactions, Visa and MasterCard gateway and over the counter transactions.
RBM National Payments System Report for July 2016 released on Friday has attributed the rise to more consumers becoming aware of the ATM interoperability in the country.
However, on an annual basis, the report says total average volume of transactions and value surged by 31 percent and 75 percent respectively compared to the same period last year.
On the contrary, the report says electronic funds transfers (EFTs) have recorded an annual growth of more than 100 percent.
“This annual EFT growth suggests that the new Malawi Interbank Transfer and Settlement System [Mitass], which was launched in December 2014 is on the right track in facilitating EFT as a more efficient mode for retail payments when compared to cheques which are normally associated with clearing delays and fraud,” reads the report.
The report says the country recorded 11 percent increase in daily average value of cheque transactions, but RBM has decried the increase because of the risks associated with cheque transactions.
RBM says the use of cheques is against payment digitisation objectives of the central bank and other players in the payments industry.
“RBM, in conjunction with the stakeholders, will, therefore, intensify implementation of appropriate strategies to achieve meaningful reduction in cheque usage in the medium to long-term.
“This will mainly be done by implementing the roadmap developed through the National Task Force on Electronic Payments,” says the report.
In an earlier interview, Nat Switch Limited project manager Gertrude Kadumbo said the innovation aims to drive and promote usage of electronic payment systems in the country.
She said the platform has since its establishment last year, received a positive response from the public as evidenced by increased usage of Nat Switch services which continue to grow on a monthly basis.
“The Nat Switch has not only interconnected banks, but also customers of the banks are using the services. We continue to be grateful to note that there is not only interconnectivity, but that there is effective interconnection through usage by the public,” she said.
Nat Switch is a World Bank-funded project under the five-year Financial Sector Technical Assistance Project (Fstap) aimed at increasing financial inclusion