The Ministry of Finance has added its weight on the establishment of the National Switch (Nat Switch), a shared switch platform to connect all the banks, saying it will improve processing of both high-value and low-value transactions in the banking industry.
The Nat Switch, largely funded by the World Bank through part of the five-year loan amounting to $28.2 million under the Financial Sector Technical Assistance Project (Fstap), will interconnect banking operations and financial transactions through automated teller machines (ATMs), point of sale (POS) devices, mobile banking, e-banking transactions, Visa and MasterCard gateway and other over-the-counter transactions.
The switch, an initiative of the Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM), will provide ease in banking, a move that could potentially attract the unbanked population to start using the banking system.
Ministry of Finance chief economist Martha Chizimba, in a presentation on the financial sector policy reforms at a media training workshop on Malawi Government economic, financial and accounting system in Mangochi on Friday the installation of the switch will enable any person to transact on any ATM or POS device irrespective of bank the customer maintains an account with.
She said that the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has also taken measures that have resulted into the rolling out of mobile payment solutions on the market.
Chizimba said such initiative has seen Airtel Malawi and TNM, two of the country’s telecommunications companies, rolling out mobile money transfer services.
“Mobile payment services coupled with the National Switch are expected to ease access to payment services by the general public,” she said.
Chizimba said in order to increase trust in using the financial sector, government is implementing the financial consumer protection and financial literacy programme through the RBM.