The country’s monetary authorities are working on a regulation, which would make it mandatory for businesses to have at least one digital payment channel.
The development comes at a time business transactions in the country continue to be predominantly cash-based.
The Deployment and Usage of Electronic Payments Channels Regulation 2018 seeks to set minimum mandatory requirements for businesses operating in Malawi by facilitating and enforcing usage of electronic payment products for payment of goods and services.
Presenting a draft copy of the regulation during a recent Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) Chapter meeting, Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) officials said the regulation is expected to be issued by December 2018.
The officials argued that the electronic payment channels include mobile money, mobile banking, point of sale devices, internet banking and products approved by RBM.
The regulation further says a business shall not surcharge customers on usage of any deployed electronic payment channel, adding that any business that does so commits an offence and shall be liable to a fine of K50, 000 for every surcharged transaction.
Section 5(a) of the regulation says “a business shall ensure that it avails deployed electronic payment channels to customers for payment of goods and services at all times and that the business shall immediately report any faulty channels to the service provider.
“(b) The deployed electronic payment channel shall be placed at a conspicuous place where a customer effecting the payment can easily see it”.
RBM spokesperson, Mbane Ngwira, said work on the regulation is being finalised and would be issued by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.
He said besides easing transaction processing by the business community, the regulation would also offer flexibility to consumers willing to pay for goods and services electronically.
“The move would also complement MRA’s efforts of collecting tax revenue easily and electronically,” Ngwira said.
MCCCI has since urged its membership to start making provisions to comply with the regulation.
As at June 2018, daily average volume of overall retail digital financial systems (DFS) transactions increased by 6.9 percent to 581,893. Similarly, corresponding daily average value of DFS transactions increased by 9.9 percent to K5.6 billion.
Mobile payments and point of sale transactions contributed to the increase in the daily average volume of transactions while all DFS channels contributed to the increase in daily average value of transactions during the period under review.
The regulation was jointly prepared by RBM, MRA, Bankers Association of Malawi, Ministry of Industry, Trade & Tourism and the Ministry of Justice