More than half of Zimbabwe’s banks have adopted chip-based payment cards as a way of protecting card users against fraud at point-of- sale machines.
RBZ started the journey to promote the adoption of Europay, MasterCard, Visa (EMV) technology in December 2014 when the regulator urged banks to ensure compliance with the EMV standards in order to minimise potential of monetary losses and fraud arising from card related risks.
EMV technology is the global standard for chip-based debit and credit Card transactions. The technology has inbuilt capability which has an effect of decreasing card fraud as cards contain a microprocessor chip that stores information securely and carry security credentials that are encoded by the card issuer at the time each card is personalised for an individual cardholder using user-specific keys.
Zimbabwean banks have until March 31, 2020 to comply with EMV standards.
Zimswitch deputy chief executive Zabron Chilakalaka, told Business Times that out of 18 banks in Zimbabwe over 10 banks have complied with the RBZ’s EMV directive.
“The players in the payments industry have responded well to the RBZ directive which has seen upgrades being done on POS terminals, software and banks issuing new chip cards.
“The journey requires a lot of resources and investment into the upgrades, coming up with new procedures as well as designing new chip cards to replace the magnetic stripe cards. The market should be commended for the great strides made to date. It is reported that almost 100% of the POS terminals in the market are EMV compliant and already processing chip cards,” said Chilakalaka.
The use of bank cards has been on the increase in Zimbabwe and this has seen an increase in the number of POS terminals deployed in the country jumping to 107 067 in Q1 2019 from as low as 7464 in Q1 2014 under the financial inclusion drive.
CABS, FBC, Nedbank, POSB and Steward are some of the banks which are already issuing cards using the Zimswitch EMV local card standard.