Sunday, September 20, 2020

Electronic payments gaining traction in Botswana

Batswana are warming towards cashless society as evidenced by the growing number of electronic transactions. However hard cash remains king for a society that has been burning through credit while keeping lower savings.

There has been continued growth in the use of electronic funds transfers (EFTs), growing strong as each year passes. In the first half of this year, average volume transactions were at 672,300 with attached average value of P14.2 billion. In 2017, the EFTs volume came at about 678, 000 transactions, bringing in about P14 billion.

The number of electronic funds transfers at point of sale (EFTPOS) has accelerated over the years down to increases in number of point of sales (POS) machines and also concerted efforts by commercial banks to redirect customers towards digital channels. There are currently 4322 POS machines distributed across the country, handling on average about 3314 transactions a month.

The growth in transactions was most strong from 2017 moving into 2018. In the first quarter of the year, EFTPOS transactions hovered around 9.9 million. The second quarter EFTPOS transactions which covers April to June came at 9899, a negligible 0.9 percent decline.

The value of EFTPOS has also been on accelerated pace, delivering about P2.5 billion in the first quarter, and going up again in the second quarter to net P2.6 billion. This is more than double the transactions values recorded in 2014. In 2017, there was an average of 9.8 million EFTPOS representing about P2.6 billion in value. Based on transactions data recorded for half year of this year, 2018 will surpass the previous year both in the number of transactions and value.

While the numbers might be showing strong growth for electronic transfers, ATMs are still the favourites for bank customers. With a total of 431 ATMs spread across the country, the amount of transactions and value are also on the rise. In the first three months of the year, there were 9.9 million transactions valued P9.8 billion. The second quarter picked up from the first, pulling in 10.1 million transactions to deliver P9.9 billion.

For the sake of comparison, ATM transactions in 2017 totalled 10 million, to rake in about P8.3 billion.

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.