In the developing world, a new payment model is emerging and Malawi government has embarked on a national awareness campaign on the adoption of electronic payments to ease transaction costs by consumers.
The campaign, whose slogan is "Go cashless, use electronic payments", is being carried out by the Ministry of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development and the Reserve Bank of Malawi.
Speaking when she launched a series of orientation meetings on electronic payments for Community Development Assistants (CDAs) and area civic education coordinators, Minister Grace Chiumia said the campaign is targeting retailers, companies, organisations, government departments involved in payments and revenue collectors.
Chiumia said times are changing and the nation is moving with times by embracing emerging technologies for the social and economic development of the country.
"It is high time people started paying for goods and services using mobile banking such as TNM Mpamba, Airtel money, point of sale devices, internet banking and other available avenues, let us pay our TV subscriptions, water and electricity bills using electronic system from the comfort of our homes," she added.
The minister said for the campaign to be successful, there is need for dissemination of information on electronic payments and benefits of the technology for people to adopt it fully.
"My ministry, with support from Reserve Bank of Malawi and other stakeholders in the finance sector, is reaching to people in all corners of the country with messages on the benefits of electronic payments," she said.
Chiumia said the ministry will use community development assistants (CDAs) and area civic education coordinators (ACEs) to disseminate information on electronic payments to the people.
In his remarks, Reserve Bank of Malawi Director for National Payments Systems Department, Fraser Mdwazika, said despite introduction of electronic payment channels such as mobile money and point of sale terminals, cash transactions still dominate payments for goods and services in Malawi.
"Most transactions, especially by government and individuals, continue to be made in cash or cheques, a situation we are trying to reverse," he said.
Mdwazika said embracing electronic payments channels saves time and is convenient as all transfers can be performed at any time, and there is reduced risk of loss or theft.
He then called on service providers to improve their infrastructure and review some of their transaction charges or fees to make them more affordable to the general public.
"The Reserve Bank of Malawi and government, in conjunction with key stakeholders in the private sector and development partners, has taken great strides to promote usage of electronic payments.
"This has been done by developing appropriate financial infrastructure, regulatory framework and financial literacy, and awareness programmes," he explained.
The awareness meetings which started in Mchinji will target all districts in the country with the first phase covering 10 districts in the north and central regions while the second phase will cover the remaining 16 districts.