Zimbabwe’s point-of-sale (POS) machine population increased by 18,3 percent in the first quarter of the year to 70 960.
For the same period, there was also a marginal increase in the country’s number of automated teller machines (ATMs), in line with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s drive to boost the use of electronic payment methods.
“POS population increased to 70 960 from 59 939 in line with the promotion of electronic means of payment and ATM population increased to 563 from 561,” said the RBZ in its National Payment System first quarter report.
The RBZ has set a target of 100 000 POS devices by 2020.
Over the years, POS devices have been increasing steadily, with a significant upsurge up to 41 100 recorded in April 2017 from just 16 400 at the beginning of 2016.
The apex bank has previously stated that increased use of electronic payment methods will benefit the economy in terms of reduced costs of importing cash which in turn reduces the pressure on nostro accounts.
It also said the economy also benefits from increased efficiency and velocity of circulation of funds, which can translate into economic activity.
During the period under review, the number of mobile banking agents increased to 48 812 from 47 838 previously.
And there were 4,91 million active mobile financial services subscribers registered in the period under review from 4,61 million registered subscribers recorded in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Notwithstanding the growth in key e-payment infrastructure, the country’s e-payment values and volumes slipped.
“The value of transactions processed through the National Payment Systems in the first quarter ending March 31, 2018, decreased by 9 percent to $28,87 billion from $31,7 billion recorded in the previous quarter ending 31 December 2017.
“The volumes decreased by 4 percent to 377,5 million from 391, 6 million during the same period,” said the RBZ.
The central bank attributed the decline in values and volumes to the performance of the real time gross settlement (RTGS), POS, cheque and mobile payment streams, which all recorded decreases in both values and volumes during the first quarter.
On a positive note, internet values and cash volumes registered increases compared to the prior quarter.
Expectedly, the value of cash withdrawals during the quarter under review decreased, going down 3 percent $650 million from $670 million.
The corresponding volumes however increased by 1 percent from 5,21 million to 5,26 million.