EFT, card transactions shoot up

By Hilary Mare

THE recently published 2019 financial report of the Bank of Namibia reveals that both EFT transactions and card transaction have shot up both in value and volume.

The central bank notes that EFT transactions processed by Namclear increased in 2019 to N$ 289.4 billion.

“This represents a 3.5 percent and 19.4 percent increase in value and volume, respectively, over the 2018 figures. EFT transactions have been increasing steadily over the last five years (2015–2019). The increased EFT usage reflects the efficiency and reliability of this payment instrument and affirms the public’s confidence therein,” Bank of Namibia said in financial report.

Card transactions continue to increase significantly year-on-year. In 2019, Namclear processed card transactions with a total value of N$22.9 billion. The value and volume processed by Namclear increased by 28.5 percent and 27.2 percent, respectively over the 2018 figures.

However on the other hand during 2019, cheque volumes and values processed by Namclear continued to decrease. The volume of cheques processed was 18 139, with a total value of N$212 million. The value and volume of cheques processed decreased by 93.1 percent and 93.8 percent, respectively, in 2019 relative to 2018.

“The downward trend in the volume and value has been a result of the phasing out of cheques as a payment instrument,” the central bank acknowledged.

In 2019, the Bank of Namibia remained a participant in the SADC Real Time Gross Settlement System (SADC RTGS). The SADC RTGS is a regional settlement system that processes time-critical or high-value payments between participating SADC countries.

In 2019, there were 83 SADC Integrated Regional Settlement System (SIRESS) participants (i.e. registered banking institutions, as well as central banks within the respective SADC jurisdictions) of which five, including the central bank, were Namibian at the end of the reporting period.

“During 2019, the total value of payments processed in the SADC RTGS amounted to R1.2 trillion. Namibian banks accounted for R393 billion, which is 32 percent of the SADC RTGS total. This reflects the optimal usage of Namibian banks of the SADC RTGS in support of regional payments integration in accordance with the Finance and Investment Protocol.”

The SADC Bankers Association (SADC BA) launched the Transaction Cleared on an Immediate Basis (TCIB) initiative for low value cross-border transfers. During July 2019, the SADC BA officially launched the TCIB initiative.

“The overall objective of this initiative is to promote regional integration; sustainable economic growth and social development; and the eradication of poverty and improvements in the quality of life of the people within the SADC community.

“This will be achieved through the integration of payment systems and infrastructure of the various countries within the SADC to enable cross-border payments to be cleared instantaneously at a regional level. The Bank facilitated sensitisation and awareness sessions on the initiative with the Bankers Association of Namibia, participants within the National Payment Systems and other stakeholders during October 2019,” explained the central bank in its report.