This report on Zambia’s retail payments landscape is part of a series commissioned by FinMark Trust to examine the retail payments landscape in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Zambia has made remarkable progress towards modernization of its national payment system, but there is a long way to go until most of the population can benefit from convenient, accessible and affordable electronic payments. This research finds that there is no single major regulatory or policy obstacle limiting progress, despite the fact that the applicable framework can still be improved. The Bank of Zambia is aware of the current regulatory gaps and is working on addressing them. It will need to issue e-money regulations to set minimum standards for existing businesses and provide certainty for new entrants. It will be necessary to create enabling rules for banks to use agents for the delivery of their services in a cost-effective manner, to expand their footprint outside urban areas and to increase convenience in places where they currently have physical presence. It is important that the upcoming regulations allow for a level playing field with non-banks, which are already allowed to use agents.
As the retail payment system expands and relies continuously on technology, the Bank of Zambia will need to create effective risk-based supervision practices to support a dynamic and healthy market.