"Like many parts of Africa, the use of digital platforms for banking has been increasing very rapidly. That cuts across the peer-to-peer transactions, the consumer-to-business transactions and business-to-consumer transactions,” Sonny Zulu from consumer banking at Standard Chartered Zambia told CNBC Africa.
“In particular, for Zambia, we’ve seen a very high increase in the peer-to-peer transactions. However, on the other side, the merchants are now accepting digital payments. Most of our corporate customers, before, were not welcoming digital payments but now they’re actually using digital payments to pay their low value payment needs.”
Zambian banks now have various banking products on offer, and, according to Zulu, are moving towards offering solutions to part of the population that lives further away from the capital, such as farmers.
Zambian farmers who live outside of the city struggle to receive payments for their produce deliveries because of the distance. Banks are now providing solutions to eradicate the difficulty.
“These solutions are now acceptable even to the farmers themselves. In the past, they would want to see the real money in their hands, but now they’re more accepting for them to be able to get payment on the mobile phone, and then be able to convert that into cash, or even be able to buy using the mobile wallets,” Zulu explained.
Only 37.3 per cent of Zambia’s population uses banks, but banks in Zambia however plan to reach financial inclusion by 50 per cent by 2015.
Zambian banks also plan to partner with mobile service providers to offer additional financial services to customers.
“We have also seen another trend which is very interesting for Zambia: the days when we had internet penetration very low is long gone. If you go to the high schools today, you will find that almost each and every student has a Facebook account, they’re on the social networks, on digital platforms every single day,” said Zulu.
“Banks now are reaching out to this upcoming market of young people to offer them banking solutions even through the social networks.”