25 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Zim Launches Online Payment

ZIMBABWE has launched its first ever online and real-time payments platform, Zimswitch vPayments, which will enable its citizens and residents to use their locally-issued debit cards.

Modeled around globally renowned system, PayPal, Zimswitch vPayments is a locally-designed real-time online payments platform; a result of joint efforts by leading internet service provider, Dandemutande, the sole national electronic funds switch linking most of Zimbabwe's banks through ATMs and points of sale systems, Zimswitch and Zimbabwe's largest building society Cabs.

The system, which came online this week, has been given the go ahead by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), according to its promoters uMax, a division of Dandemutande. An online real-time payments system is one of the last major steps taken by Zimbabwe in facilitating e-commerce.

"Cabs is the first financial institution to be certified to use vPayment, and uMax, as the pilot project driver, is the first official merchant to accept payments through this online payment platform.

However, the platform is available to all Zimswitch participating banks and three more banks are scheduled to come on board soon," uMax interim CEO Michael Weeden said.

Zimbabweans have been unable to make online payments for purchases on international platforms such as PayPal owing to sanctions imposed on the country. Most international payment service providers will not process payments on the back of Zimbabwean issued debit and credit cards.

According to Weeden, the platform will enable Zimbabweans to transfer funds from their ordinary accounts into an online account and transact in real-time.

The Zimswitch vPayments system has been configured as a secure payments platform, designed to capture and secure Internet-based payments between retailers and merchants and the final customer.

Zimswitch vPayments uses One Time Passwords (OTP) which are randomly generated code keys sent to a client's mobile number as an SMS every time a transaction is carried out on vPayments, providing additional security.

It took uMax more than 18 months to develop and test the system and get the appropriate RBZ approval.

As with PayPal, Zimswitch vPayments card holders go through a registration process after which they are then able to shop and make payments online at any merchant certified by Zimswitch.

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