Tanzania: National Data Centre Launches Payment Card

THE National Internet Data Centre (NIDC), has launched a payment card which allows people to make payment for tickets and goods all over the country without carrying around bulky cash.

Dubbed N-Card, it gives one comfort to transact with ease anywhere without carrying cash or your debit card, or even your credit card.

NIDC Sales Engineer, Mr Geodfrey Mlewa told 'Daily News' in an interview that the card was launched at the 44th Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair (DITF), whereby few visitors were issued with the card that enabled them to purchase goods at the fair as well as entrance tickets.

"The government's goal is to show how technology can revolutionise the day-to-day activities of people's lives, that is why we came up with this card, and plans are underway to integrate this system with other payment systems in the country," he said.

He added, "N-Card is flexible, it can be used to make payments on all social services and anywhere, our cards have no limitations, unlike other available cards in the market," On the cost of acquiring the card, he said it does not exceed 1,000, but at DITF, people got it for free.

By the end of this year, it is expected that 50 per cent of the country will have N-Card.

Mr Mlewa further said plans are underway to introduce the system at Kigamboni ferry and National Stadium project.

Expounding further, he said thereafter they will expand the scope of use and go to other social uses, such as small scale retail shops famously known as 'Mangi shops', shopping malls, and petrol stations, where all of them will be provided with point of sale machines.

On the amount of money that can be put in the card, he said to begin with, they have set a maximum of 1m/-, but if the customer has special needs, they will be allowed to store more than that.

"Let us embrace our inventions, this is a Tanzanian card, let us give it value. We will also provide awareness on how to get the card and use it," said Mr Mlewa.

Digital wallets, e-wallets or mobile wallets are all the rage right now in the financial world. Their usage is spreading fast, as going cashless is the latest trend in Tanzania.

The form of digital payments can be traced back to 1997 when Coca Cola launched a few vending machines in Helsinki that let customers purchase a can via text messages.

Though very different from modern-day e-wallet transactions, this is believed to be the origin.

According to him, other services offered by NIDC include colocation, virtual services, dedicated server, domain registration and web hosting as well as storage and backup services.

Mr Mlewa said they have a unit set up for developing various government and individual systems in which the first system developed by the facility is the electronic revenue collection system which involves Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and Zanzibar Revenue Board (ZRB).

He said the second system is the e-ticketing system for upcountry buses that will make it easier for the government to control revenue in terms of the transport sector and also help bus owners to know how much they earn per day.

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