10 cents for swiping as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe slashes bank charges

Nigel Gambanga Avatar
Zimswitch Smile to Pay

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has finally announced a new set of bank charges following an agreement between the regulator, the providers of payment platforms and the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe.

Under the new charges, electronic funds transfer (ZIPIT) will now cost between 33 cents and US$2.10; RTGS transfers have been reduced to $5 from a $10 charge, ATM withdrawals will now cost a maximum of $2.50; Point-of-sale (POS) transactions of up to $10 will cost 10 cents while a POS transaction above $10 will cost 45 cents at the most.

POS user charges have also been scrapped and merchant service commissions will not exceed 1% for local transactions.Monthly administration charges will be capped at $5 for individuals.

The long awaited fees reduction is expected to increase the use of electronic banking services as the country deals with a cash shortage which has been exacerbated by Zimbabweans refusal to take up cash alternatives that have always been too expensive.

Now Read: 11 Ways To Survive The Current Cash Crisis In Zimbabwe


  1. Brian

    Well they still need to reduce, I’m based in SA I swipe for free, most banks do that. I can swipe for a loaf of bread for R12 for free.

    1. ZimBanker

      Do you know what the Merchant Services Commission is in SA? It is higher than in Zimbabwe (before this 1% moratorium ). There is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone has to pay!

      1. G

        the fact is if i swipe with my card in SA i dont get charged, if i make a transfer i don’t get charged
        – in other news – Gweru city council introduces plastic money – techzim please also report about developments outside of harare https://www.newsday.co.zw/2016/06/14/gweru-introduces-plastic-money/

      2. Llodza

        Enlighten us on the charges or percentages so that we know the truth.

      3. Weezy

        Zim Banker you need to answer the question asked by Llodza

      4. tinashe

        If they want to really promote using plastic money the charges have to be less than or equal to bank withdrawal charges. I think my FBC mastercard charges me fair when l use POS, l am charged 1% of any amount l transact. A $1 for every $100.
        There is also need to make the POS system more efficient esp in supermarkets.

        1. kupa

          The charges for the FBC Mastercard have gone up. They say a minimum of $3.50 on a transaction which is ridiculous.

      5. Mugufuli

        MSC is not the core of this article and comment, yes it might be passed to client later. Don’t unnecessarily complicate the argument. One doesn’t need to know MSC rates for card swipes to be 0. R0 fees in SA US0.10 in Zim. More needs to done in Zim.

        1. Anonymous

          Thanks to you, I am a beautiful

    2. zim dev

      well maybe banks there still make money from personal loans so they don’t need raise those swipe charges manje kuno to apply for a personal loan unoita kunge urikuda kutora cyprus visa

  2. G

    they need to make card swipes free, thats the standard as banks try to make people use less cash. bank transfers should be free they should make money from lending not bank charges

    government should als start accepting cards for all government services plus have a campaign to offer the card swipe machines to smme’s at a very low cost

  3. Samuel

    Its not prefect but much better compared to the $2 some banks have been charging.

  4. Anonymous

    This is not clever. It is the same thought process that has got our economy into a mess. Price controls don’t work. You would think that government would have learnt this lesson by now

    1. Ndini Ndaverengawo

      This is not a price control, but if you read carefully, this was done in agreement with the organisations that run the payment systems.

      1. Garikai Dzoma

        I agree this is different. The charge was not put in place by supply and demand. It was put in place by banks and they haven now agreed to reduce the charges too so it will work.

        1. Banker

          Banks were mandated to do so. If for one minute you believe that the RBZ actually consults banks before arriving at these decisions then you are mistaken and / or have been misled. The implementation date is “immediate” which is 14 June 2016. There is configuration of systems which needs to ha open first, followed by testing before such changes can be implemented in the live environment. No bank would agree to “immediate” implementation!

          1. Anonymous

            plastic money; less pos simple. banks were robbing us.

  5. Banker

    So has the government reduced the transaction tax of 5 cents? Has the government scraped the duty on Point of Sale terminals? Is the government going to import the cash and not leave it to the banks to pay +/- 1%? NO. This is a form of price controls which do not work in the long run!

    1. Peter

      Hear hear!

  6. Kb

    Are these charges inclusive of Zimswitch network charges

  7. ggg

    good and let’s be honest the only way to be free is if someone (gvt) subsidies the charges but bank was the only industry left that operated at a premium not it becomes normal that revenue is through sheer bulk of transactions.
    plus banks would be advises to intosuce a points system to reward us for using them.

  8. Phillip Munyaradzi

    This falls short way short of our expectations. Most banks have stopped dispensing cash at ATMs. Most retailers dont have POS machines, most Zimbos dont have cards to swipe. Zimbabwe dos not have a formal economy as compared to SA. Banks are exacerbating the cash crisis to make more money from cash withdrawal fees. Industries are down, the government is broke. The succession issue in Zanu pf is impeding development. Corruption is too high and goes unpunished. Business confidence is low due to iminent introduction of Bond notes. Policy inconsistency from government. The Image of RBZ severely damaged, reputation of commercial banks damaged. Zimbabweans do not trust the banking system. So there is a lot to be done, a lot more!!!

  9. TSA-The_Serial_Analyst

    Is there a professional course for electronic payments out there??

    1. Banker

      Yes! http://euro.ecom.cmu.edu/program/courses/tcr763/

      Offered by the Institute of eCommerce.

      1. TSA-The_Serial_Analyst

        Thanks @Banker… Have you done it yourself or know anybody who has?

  10. clive mphambela

    Whenever someone is getting something for free, someone else is Paying. This is a fundamental law of money economics.

  11. Llodza

    I fail to understand how they agreed to lower levies or charges for something they don’t have: CASH. I understand their safes are empty so we are going nowhere?
    @Banker can you explain to me something. When you want a loan banks tell you they cannot give you any money since it belongs depositors. Now the depositors want their money and you say it’s not there. Where did it go?

    1. Banker

      @ Llodza, you are now asking the right questions! Indeed where did it go? Look for the tallest building along Samora Machel and start asking questions there.

      Here is a bit of a clue: Look at the CBZ 2015 Annual Report and go to their Money Market Assets. Take a look at Treasury Bills – $465 million ($147 million in 2014) – 216% increase. It’s on page 114, Note 10. Do you know what this means?

  12. KC

    Has an analysis been done to establish actual cost of providing each of these services or products outside importation of cash? Has a comparison been done to establish costs of similar services in the region and internationally? This would assist to establish at what level the charges should be pegged with the benefit of actual cost. We need to move away from habit of thumb suck decisions. Why are most banks no longer putting cash in their ATMs with exception of Standard Chartered Bank (StanChart) & ZB Bank when they can disable ZIMSWITCH that has become the standard practice with RBZ not doing anything about this?. Well done StanChart and ZB Bank. It shows that you have an element of care about the convenience of customers. As it is, visitors from outside the country who in a way are bringing foreign currency into the country can not access cash from ATMs using their VISA & Mastercards. Thought the country is desperate to augment its meagre foreign currency situation. Other banks like Barclays do not even have POS machines in the market yet they are the strongest advocates for use of plastic money, hypocrites of the highest order. In addition banks must make money from their core lending business and not abuse non funded income streams. What has happened to depositors funds that should be available on demand unless if they are held in time deposits? It is for this reason that the public has lost confidence on banks, RBZ & Government. While externalization of funds is a problem perhaps funded from funds in the informal sector and undeclared and unaccounted for mineral revenues to the fiscus, the primary problem are virtual balances represented by Treasury Bills (TBs). How much is sitting on T/Bs? National bank balances remain more or less static an indication that cross border outflows are not the primary problem otherwise balances would have reduced in sympathy with externalization. Yes, the trade deficit is an unsustainable problem but would like to believe that virtual or dead T/Bs is the root cause of cash crisis. Government’s high recurrent expenditure and other expenditure is compounding the situation as it is consumptive in the sense that Government does not directly generate USDs. No voodoo economics please, let’s go back to basics – drive increase in exports after supporting retooling of industry with affordable money and conversely reducing imports, drive FDI while improving policy and operating environment so that its easier to attract credit lines for both public and private sector, be respective to diaspora remittances and grants. Deal decisively with corruption, greediness, nepotism, tribalism, cronyism, patronage, respect property rights and human rights. This will set stage for gradual economy recovery.

  13. KC

    In addition, in efforts to permanently exorcise the cash demon, Government, RBZ, Banks, Telcos & ZIMRA should work together to ensure that necessary adequate infrastructure that is reliable and efficient is installed to fully support the use of plastic money. ZIMSWITCH to own and drive such initiative. It will be sufficiently capitalized by the banks and RBZ to ensure optimization of benefits and minimization of cost of putting necessary infrastructure and also avoid an overlap or duplication of effort should each bank handle project individually. All banks to be forced to have cash in their ATMs all the time and not be allowed to disconnect from ZIMSWITCH with heavy penalties for non compliance. Make it slightly expensive to use bank that is not your parent bank. All businesses including ZESA, City Councils, TelOne etc must have POS machines installed. ZIMRA can incentivize those that drive use of plastic money, tax numbers must be conditional, perhaps target to gradual achieve threshold of 80% of revenues to be received through plastic money and only 20% from cash (to cater for the over 65 years of age that may not have bank accounts). Have timelines for this and thereafter penalize those that do not achieve the threshold by deadline date. No product or service that is prized at more than $1000 should be paid for in cash, make it an offence for anyone who breaches this limit. Bank transfers, RTGS and plastic money to be used for all payments above $1000. All wages for each employee that are above $400 should be paid through a bank account. If wages for employees are collectively over $1000, they should be paid through bank accounts even where these are less than $400 each, given daily cap of cash withdrawal of $1000 for both individuals and businesses. Learn from Kenya how their Kombis have been able to use plastic money since 2014 and make it work. The strategy and plan would be to eliminate as much as possible use of cash for both products and services but retain daily cash withdrawal amount at $1000. This will self regulate as most individuals do not have these balances in their accounts to continually withdraw $1000 daily. There should be no exceptions to this rule of daily cash withdrawal limits even for senior Government officials as this breeds corruption. No one at banks and RBZ should have discretion to authorize withdrawals outside limit. They must all use plastic money.

    1. ggg

      APA mairasa people should do as they wish within a certain limit.
      your controls don’t work so CE gvt doesn’t produce nothing and zombos will just go informal. and the more controls imposed the less peoples use the formal system reducing taxes. and PS most mega seals were closed cz the I vestora thpughtz they would be dealing with us dollars and other hard currencies.
      gvt should now accept they need ministers who don’t scare investors fix the ZSE cz a hood stock exchange is a sign of a functional economy.
      as it stands factories and other exporters are slowing operations Intl they understand how bond works reducing exports.
      issue iyi is abt trust no one wants to sink like in 2008

  14. Random guy

    Does this include VISA card transactions?

    1. Banker

      Local transactions only.

  15. KC

    You are right Banker about CBZ’s 2015 financial report, T/Bs have been used by RBZ & Government to siphon liquidity from the money market. The problem started when banks were instructed by the hopeless and clueless RBZ to transfer over 70% of all banks’ balances held in their Nostro Accounts to RBZ. With funds at their discretion, it was not long before old habits came back at the apex bank, RBZ to start to directly dip their dirty fingers into the jar. This was compounded by the uncontrolled issuing of T/Bs by the RBZ further siphoning local liquidity. This is the PRIMARY root cause of the current cash crisis and not the so called externalization of foreign currency as otherwise this would be reflected in a decline in overall national balances that have remained more or less static. The RBZ has been funding Government expenditure to cover the gap/hole that ZIMRA is unable to fund as a result of continuous decline in tax revenues as economy shrinks. The insatiable spending by Government that has no financial discipline to talk about starting from its top failed leadership who think that a country can never go broke was sooner than later going to result in the present situation. So this so called hare-brained bond note will not solve but compound our situation as it is will create a black market as all its holders try to convert it to USD as quickly as possible notwithstanding that it’s quantum at equivalent USD200m will be a drop in the ocean in the context of the cash supposedly in circulation and national bank balances. The public is no longer gullible as in the past as the experiences of 2005/2008 are still fresh in their minds and have it street wise. Let the RBZ & Government dig their own grave, anyway it’s high time. It’s been long in coming to finally kick these idiots in the teeth. Every other economy around us growing and we are the laughing stock, thanks to the clueless clowns in Government and RBZ. The business leaders together with the so called bankers (some of who talk too much when they lack eloquence but just waffle & stammer) are also either clueless/ignorant or are afraid to call a spade a spade hence the unending economic turmoil as they keep supporting polices that will not work. No voodoo economics, just go back to basics as already above and economy will start to turn and tick.

    1. ggg

      someone buy this man a Bells.
      eskom bills abs american tbills are in high demand cz thus countries can be trusted to pay back.
      and look when Zuma replaced a good finance minister with his choice the rand collapsed but when the e new trusted guy came on it rebounded.
      people in charge of rbz and finance should be ones who can tell everyone maya this doesn’t work

  16. mafirakureva

    ko vanhu vari kuSA mukutiudzei kuty you swipe for free bla bla bla….this is Zimbabwe not SA hanty ndozvamakatiza here saka y do you want it to be the same…imimi itai zveikoko