Modernisation of Payment Systems

Payments worldwide are undergoing a revolution where digitization, interoperability and modernization are currently the key topics in every financial institution’s business and investment strategies. Ever increasing regulatory control, rapid technology advancement and highly competitive business environments dictate that financial institutions need to be more agile and scalable to meet both legislative and the modern customer’s requirements.

Read the full magazine here (Refer to pages 46 – 49 for the article.)


Understanding NamPay

Finteq Africa have been involved in the development of Nampay – a new domestic Electronics Fund Transfer (EFT) system introduced  by the Namibian payments industry.

According to Barbara Dreyer, Director of Payment and Settlement Systems, “In recent times, but more so with the onslaught of COVID-19, we have observed an increase in the usage of electronic payment channels, which is testimony to the shift in the payments. Thus, it is imperative that every user of the NPS understands how this system works.”

The PDF download provided aims to inform, educate, and present information to the public on matters related to the NPS. In this edition you will find information about the new payment system called ‘NamPay’ which will modernize how Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT) are made in Namibia and highlights the benefits of NamPay for consumers”

Download PDF here


Payment system modernisation in Zimbabwe

Payment system modernisation in Zimbabwe

Finteq Africa the system provider for the new  ISO 20022 EFT Clearing House solution deployed in Harare, Zimbabwe at Zimswitch is proud to announce the recent go-live of the system. It brings the globally accepted ISO 20022 EFT payment standards to the Zimbabwe payments landscape, and offers a  modern  interoperable payment clearing and settlement system for banks and fintech’s.  

The system, deployed by Finteq Africa is operated by Zimswitch using brand name ZEEPAY. The FCH(Finteq Clearing House) introduces an efficient and secure credit push payment clearing and settlement stream, available to financial institutions, including non-banks, in accordance with local regulations. It will be followed shortly by the below additional payment streams:

  • EFT Debit – a comprehensive modern intra and inter-day request for credit system with tracking facility to ensure higher probability of collections over a period of time.
  • RTC Credit  – real time credit push payments, where funds move from one account to another in a few seconds.

The Finteq Clearing House system provides for clearing and settlement between financial institutions of bulk transactions, such as salary and corporate payments, collection files from corporate’s and single credits for personal or business transactions. Via batch streams, the highly efficient solution is capable of providing intra-day transaction finality, depending on industry requirements and regulation, resulting in funds arriving in a beneficiaries account within hours of the transaction being initiated. This an effective mechanism for increasing the velocity of value exchange within an economy and thereby helping to accelerate domestic economic activity. Corporate, small enterprise and individuals will all see benefits from improved liquidity.

It supports all of the principles of a modern day open and interoperable payment system, in that it has good security, transparency (eliminating risks of a ‘grey’ economy), is convenient, reduces costs to clear transactions between participants, enables Straight Through Processing, allows for remote transacting, and most importantly facilitates faster payment.

Finteq Africa is proud to be associated with Zimswitch in bringing this landmark innovation to Zimbabwe, and being a part of future-proofing the Zimbabwe payments landscape!

New Automated Clearing House goes Live in Zimbabwe

New Automated Clearing House goes Live in Zimbabwe

Finteq Africa is proud to announce the recent go-live of their flagship product, FCH. This is an ISO 20022 EFT Clearing House solution, deployed into the Zimbabwe financial industry through the National Switch, Zimswitch. The Finteq ISO 20022 EFT ACH subscribes to globally accepted and promoted payment processing standards, helping African countries to step boldly and proudly into one of the most modern EFT processing environments available.

Owned and operated by Zimswitch under the brand name ZEEPAY this system initially introduces a highly efficient, highly secure batch-based credit push payment clearing and settlement stream. It is available to financial institutions, including non-banks, in accordance with local regulations. The highly efficient system provides for bulk input of transactions, such as salary and corporate payments, as well as single transactions for individual purchases or business transactions. Even in batch mode the highly efficient system is capable of providing intra-day transaction finality, resulting in funds arriving in a beneficiaries account within hours of the transaction being initiated. This a highly effective mechanism for increasing the velocity of value exchange within an economy and thereby helping to accelerate domestic economic activity. Corporate, small enterprise and individuals will all see benefits from the system.

Zimswitch has plans to rapidly introduce the next phases of the local Payments Modernisation process via the debit (request for credit) component of the solution as well as the real-time credit component, following the successful implementation of the credit system, currently in initial pilot phase.

Finteq Arica is both honoured and proud to have this opportunity to help Zimswitch in bringing this landmark innovation to Zimbabwe!

Namibia is at the forefront of a global financial system revolution.

Namibia took the lead in the SADC region to discontinue cheques as a payment stream effective 30 June 2019.

The Determination on the Efficiency of the National Payment System (NPS) (PSD-7) came into effect on the 31st December 2014, setting principles which defined efficiency for the National Payment System. With the implementation of PSD-7 and with a system, which no longer matched the efficiency requirements, the industry determined a phasing out strategy.

The Bank of Namibia welcomed the move and to focus on more efficient, cost-effective digital payment systems and methods; and in line with the NPS Vision 2020. SACHA road-map also looked at 2020 as the date for abolishing of cheques in countries as a payment instrument.

A Payment System Revolution for NAMCLEAR and the Banking Industry

Namibia is at the forefront of a global financial system revolution.

The Payment Association of Namibia, in partnership with local banking institutions and Namclear the Automated Clearing House (ACH) implemented a brand new solution, called NamPay.

The new payment solution resulted in a major enhancement to the National Payment System (NPS) for Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT) and impact on all stakeholders directly or indirectly utilizing this service. This has been driven by a legislative need for greater efficiency in the processing of payments in the NPS.

The current EFT system managed by Namclear and the domestic banks is being replaced by a state-of- the-art, internationally recognized messaging standard (ISO-20022) solution that introduces greater efficiency,safety and effective control of the domestic EFT component of the NPS.

NamPay presents an incredible opportunity for the Namibia NPS to be among the most technologically advanced on the continent. It will not only bring Namibia into the mainstream of the digitisation of national payments systems, but will add considerable value to all users of the NPS, and ultimately the Namibian public.This exciting solution will comprise of three new payment streams across debit orders, credit payment transfers, which have already been implemented and near-to-real-time credit payment transfers that will transform all EFT processing in Namibia.

Given the impact that NamPay will have on Namibia as a whole, all banking consumers will be transitioned from using the current system to the new processing standard.The existing system will be decommissioned at the end of June 2021.

SACHA Newsletter June 2020

Zimswitch set to launch ZEEPAY a bulk payments system game changer.

Zimswitch is working on introducing a new Electronic Funds Transfer system in the Zimbabwean market called ZEEPAY (Zimswitch Enhanced Electronic Payments).

The main objective of this initiative is for Zimswitch to become a fully Automated Clearing House by complementing the existing ISO8583 Card Switch and to modernize the local EFT payments space through a global standard (ISO20022). Zimbabwean Financial Institutions, Corporates, Government organizations and the National Payments Division of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe are in total support of these objectives.

The new EFT payments platform will support the interchange of credits and debits (single or bulk) in batch or real-time modes by Zimswitch participants.


  • Same day value and future dated processing and settlement of EFTs
  • Clearing and Settlement
  • Query and Dispute Management
  • Billing Services

To date 6 Zimswitch participants and 6 organizations are at various stages of automating the integration between their systems and ZEEPAY. The target go-live date is by middle of Q2 2020.


In 2019, Cash and cheque volume contributions was less than 1% of all payments volume, thus at least 99% of all payments were made through electronic means. There are 5 electronic payment options available to Zimbabweans which are: ATM, Internet, Mobile, Point of Sale (POS) and Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS). Over 96% of the electronic transaction volumes are distributed between only two channels; Mobile and POS.

The banks continue to deploy POS machines with the figures increased from 99,935 in December 2018 to 121,413 in December 2019, a 21% increment. The debit cards increase from 4,734,299 to 5,625,031 which is almost an increase of 1million additional cards into the market. There were 6.54 million active mobile financial services.




Finteq appoint new independent non-executive director

Finteq is proud to announce that a known industry expert, with 20 years payments and banking experience, has been appointed to their board as an independent non-executive director.

Brad Gillis currently heads Payments & Collections at a major multinational bank (focussed on Africa). His experience includes a deep involvement with industry organisations, associations and regulators both in South Africa as well as across SADC, and the rest of Africa. He is a seasoned speaker at conferences and events and has authored research articles on payments and transactional banking in South Africa, SADC as well as for other African markets.

In his new position at Finteq, some of his duties will include:

  • Using his In-depth knowledge of payments in Africa, to advise the board on direction in Africa and future payment and aligning Finteq products to best capitalise on these.
  • Involvement in setting Finteq’s direction, strategy and focus.
  • Using his banking knowledge, specifically what banks need, to better align Finteq to meet all of its customer requirements.
  • Using his banking knowledge to help Finteq align with banking best practise.

A family man, Brad and his wife have two children but he still finds time to run, cycle, read and attend theatrical productions.  Not only does he enjoy his recreational sports, but he has already completed two marathons and conquered Kilimanjaro.

Finteq Managing Director, Andy Theron says “We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Brad.  His knowledge and experience, coupled with that of our existing board will surely catapult the company to even greater heights than ever before.”

The Payment Processing Revolution – Why Banks Need to Plan for ISO 20022

14 October 2019 – Originally posted on

The migration to ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 20022 could be a quantum leap for payment processing. Don’t be fooled by the tech-speak in its title—ISO 20022 is on track to become the biggest revolution in the payment sector since the launch of the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) 10 years ago.

So, what do organisations need to know, and how will it affect them? First and foremost, ISO 20022 migration is a system-wide shakeup of primary payment-market infrastructures. This reform establishes a messaging standard that looks to meet the ever-increasing demand for speed, richer data and automation.

While migration isn’t yet mandatory, many see it as an exciting opportunity to boost communication standards and upscale the richness of data gathered across the payment sector. For banks, it promises to cut the costs associated with processing payments as well as take the hassle out of compliance and financial-fraud detection. For businesses, it could offer a considerable competitive advantage, with early adoption minimising any disruptions.

The tipping point

Although ISO 20022 has been around since 2004, migration to this standard now has the backing of many of the world’s most important payment-market infrastructures, such as the Bank of England’s (BoE’s) real-time gross settlement (RTGS) service, Fedwire (the Federal Reserve Banks’ RTGS funds-transfer system), the Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS) and the financial-market infrastructure SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication). With each of these systems migrating their high-value payment systems almost concurrently, widespread ISO 20022 adoption has reached a tipping point.

UK-based clearinghouses, for instance, will follow a phased migration process led by the Bank of England. The “preparation phase” is set to be completed by 2022, and the ISO“introductory phase” by mid-2023. Across the Atlantic, the United States’ two main payment organizations—Fedwire and CHIPS—will also undergo phased migrations. Already in the process of moving to ISO 20022, Fedwire will continue to allow for existing and new formats before ISO 20022 is fully implemented.

The SWIFT organisation plans a similar “co-existence” period, commencing just before the eurozone’s migration in November 2021. This four-year transitional phase will ensure a smooth migration from MT (Message Type) to ISO 20022 formats and will see SWIFT offer conversion services—allowing messaging formats to be translated from MT to ISO 20022 and ISO 20022 to MT. Initially, these services will be offered free of charge and will ensure easy communication between banks that haven’t migrated their systems.

Some regions, however, are ahead of the curve. Areas already benefitting from early adoption include China, Japan, India and Switzerland. Locations aiming to implement ISO 20022 by 2020 include the United States, Malaysia and Thailand—whereas the eurozone, Hong Kong and Singapore plan to implement by 2021.

What is it, and how does it work?

Put simply, ISO 20022 is a messaging standard that makes payment processing easier. The Bank of England recently described it as “the emerging global standard for payments messaging”. Indeed, one of the most lauded benefits of ISO 20022 implementation is the level of standardisation it will bring to all markets—effecting faster and more efficient payment processing.

At present, some transaction files are converted from one format to another at payment gateways and stripped of their data—which can create challenges further down the line, when the data needs to be re-enriched. Fortunately, ISO 20022 messaging formats provide more information fields to capture granular details, including the full name, postal address, contact details and account number of a debtor. This data can then be transferred effortlessly and without alteration along the entire payment chain. 

Why now?

Digital banking and the emergence of 24/7/365 online shopping has put pressure on the payment sector. To meet this rising demand for international, round-the-clock payments, banks will need to start planning for a level of standardisation that meets the expectations of customers.

However, it’s not just about speed. Another challenge facing the payment sector is the need to keep up with regulatory and compliance requirements. Rapid data processing, for example, remains crucial—especially when it comes to tackling cybercrime and fraud. Faster processing afforded by ISO 20022 implementation will make it easier to detect money laundering and, of course, improve customer experience.

In short, ISO 20022 can help businesses meet the rapid-fire requirements of the sector without sacrificing customer experience. 

What are the opportunities?

ISO 20022 could be the first step toward payment automation—waiting for manual intervention can result in a sluggish payment chain and increased costs. Indeed, one of the many benefits of the standard is that it has the potential to dramatically improve straight-through-processing (STP) rates. Removing the need for manual intervention along the payment chain promises to cut delays and improve efficiency.

But this messaging standard has another key benefit—the richer data provided makes it easier for businesses to stay on the right side of compliance and allows for greater security levels and cost savings. What’s more, time and resource-intensive activities—such as payment processing, data analytics, investigations and reporting—all have the potential to become automated off the back of ISO 20022 implementation.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The European Commission (EC) recently stated that SEPA (which includes the transition to ISO 20022) resulted in annual savings of €21.9 billon. So, the argument for making the switch isn’t just about efficiency—it’s about saving billions.

From a customer-experience perspective, there is an extra incentive to shift to a modern payment standard. Reconciliation—a common customer concern—will become more straightforward following ISO 20022 implementation, resulting in improved rates of customer satisfaction. 

What does ISO 20022 mean for banks?

Migration to ISO 20022 will no doubt involve the allocation of significant time, money and resources. That said, it is important for senior management across the entire sector to take stock of how migration will impact their businesses. Investigative measures to this end should involve analyses of the number of transactions executed annually, whether external providers need to be used and how businesses, in general, will be affected internally. Beyond this, banks would also benefit from examining how business lines dealing with markets undergoing ISO 20022 migration will be impacted.

Clearly, migration is about more than just core-payments processing—a whole host of other departments and processes are likely to be affected by the transition. Anti-financial crime applications, liquidity management, billing and account reporting, for example, will all be subject to change. Other areas such as foreign-currency account-reconciliation (nostro) activity, sales, treasury, IT (information technology), risk management and legal departments could also be affected. 

Data overload: why an IT overhaul is essential

Processing up to three times more than the usual amount of data will inevitably put pressure on banking infrastructure—creating the need for superior processing power. Some businesses, therefore, are likely to consider a workaround—setting up a so-called “convertor” for payment processing, allowing them to convert legacy formats to ISO 20022 messages. However, it is worth bearing in mind that these convertors carry the risk of data loss—which would mean complex compliance issues later down the line.

Further challenges will be faced by banks operating across multiple currency areas. Since ISO regulations have different specifications for different regions, even ISO 20022 transfers will become tricky across borders. Compounding the issue is the fact that institutions governing currency regions such as the euro, dollar and pound sterling have taken differing approaches to ISO 20022 migration. The Eurosystem, for instance, has launched an integration project called “Vision 2020”, which will see its settlement services and collateral-management systems combined under the TARGET (Trans-European Automated Real-time Gross settlement Express Transfer system) banner, with a view to cutting costs, boosting efficiency and improving security across the various payment regions.

Looking ahead: cutting costs and moving toward automation

A clear strategy is essential for banks looking to avoid disruption in the face of this industry overhaul. The stakes are high—ignoring the transition could have severe implications for liquidity and reserves, not to mention the loss of access to central banks’ resources.

Implementing ISO 20022 will not come without costs, and it will likely present logistical challenges for many banks. But, despite the obstacles, it presents an unrivalled opportunity: the chance to create a more economical payment-processing ecosystem with superior security, faster STP rates, richer data and upscaled customer experience.

Maximum value cheque

PASA will be Reducing the Maximum Value for Writing a Cheque

1 July 2019 – Originally posted on

After careful consideration and consultation with key stakeholders, PASA will be reducing the maximum value for writing a cheque from the current value of R500 000 to R50 000, effective 01 May 2020.

Walter Volker, Chief Executive Officer of PASA believes that this limit reduction stems from the need for better risk management and the ongoing decline in the use of cheques as a payment method.

“Although less than 10% of signed cheques are for values above R50 000, the inherent risk of transactions above R50 000 is higher, based on potential fraud. A reduced cheque limit will thus reduce the risks associated with fraud losses and system failures,” says Volker

Volker adds: “The use of cheques has been declining at a rapid rate of approximately 30% year on year, driven by the shift in consumer habits, with South Africans opting for the convenience and safety of digital payments.”

There are a variety of interoperable digital alternatives for consumers ranging from Debit and Credit Card based payment solutions to Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) and Real-Time Clearing (RTC) payments with future developments being designed to enable new offerings. Card, EFT and RTC payments have experienced significant growth as consumers and businesses adopt these payment mechanisms over Cash and Cheque based payments. Digital payments are not only more efficient than Cheques, but are also safer and more convenient for consumers.

The South African Reserve Bank has also endorsed the reduction decision, which was informed by an extensive consultation process. The SARB supported the decision to reduce the item limit on the basis that it supports the National Payment System Framework and Strategy – Vision 2025 objective of promoting safer, cost-effective and efficient electronic payments in the National Payment System (NPS).

Volker also stressed that there would be no immediate changes.

“There will be sufficient preparation within the banks to effect the system changes, and firms will have sufficient time to adapt to the new rules before 1 May 2020,” Volker concludes.

Zimswitch conference

Trust key for digital economy — Mutandagayi

31 May 2019 – On The Herald

Zimswitch conference

Mr Ronald Mutandagayi

Costa Mano in Nyanga
Trust is the major ingredient and key asset of a successful digital economy that must be underpinned by sound risk management and secure digital platforms.

Speaking yesterday in his keynote address at the ongoing Zimswitch Payments Conference in Nyanga, ZB Financial Holdings group chief executive Ronald Mutandagayi, said as part of the national financial inclusion strategy, financial market infrastructure like Zimswitch were required to ensure consumer protection, education and awareness, which invariably creates an atmosphere of trust and confidence in electronic payments systems.

“As many of you would be aware, in the February 2019 Monetary Policy Statement, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya emphasised security in the use of electronic means of payments and directed for the adoption EMV  (Europay, MasterCard, Visa) compliance by March 31, 2019.

“This is aimed at ensuring our payments landscape maintains customer confidence and trust. The timing of this conference is opportune for our participants. Stemming from the Governor’s pronouncements, Zimswitch has set out an EMV roadmap for the country in line with the RBZ mandate,” said Mr Mutandagayi.

Mr Mutandagayi said the conference had been organised to facilitate the exchange of information and views on an array of topics to enable the sustained use of electronic systems in Zimbabwe.

“This conference is part of Zimswitch’s over-arching strategy goal of meeting customer needs through engagement. The conference is a strong initiative towards building strong collaboration and partnerships in supporting digital payments in Zimbabwe and the region. The theme for this year’s event is ‘A Digital Economy for Africa’. This theme is critical given the high usage of electronic payments platforms in Zimbabwe.

“The RBZ reports that over 90 percent of transactions are now taking place digitally. This makes Zimbabwe a unique case study for Africa. It is amazing how the transacting public has embraced and trusted digital payment solutions,” he said.

Mr Mutandagayi said in the early 90s the country saw the advent of the first Automated Teller Machines (ATM) but due to the cost of maintenance no single bank could cover the whole country.

“Banks concerned with the costs of independently running and maintaining a nationwide network of ATMs came together with a concept to share access to the few devices that were available at the time. The idea was to share access, expand access points and also attain economies of scale.

“The idea to share and collaborate led to the establishment of Zimswitch in 1994 through a partnership of eight founding financial institutions. It was trust that was at the heart of the founding partners to partner and share their assets which would have otherwise been used as a source of competitive advantage,” said Mr Mutandagayi.

He noted that some of the benefits of trust in the financial ecosystems are an increase in consumer confidence to use digital payments platforms and increased transaction volumes, which leads to more business for financial infrastructures like Zimswitch. The other benefits include more business on digital platforms for financial merchants, increased transactional revenues for the banks as well as improved transparency and revenue collection for the Government.

“Zimswitch now connects approximately 550 ATMs and 90 000 Point Of Sale (POS) devices, a huge jump from approximately 280 ATMS and 2 000 POS in 2001. Zimswitch has demonstrated its trust by extending collaboration to encampus international schemes. To date collaboration has been established with Mastercard while discussions are ongoing with VISA and UnionPay.

“Going forward Zimswitch will continue building on its reputation of trust and embrace partnerships and collaboration especially with FinTechs (Financial Technology companies) in the area of open APIs (Application Programming Interface), this will enable  convention of the future of payments in Zimbabwe. I wish to assure delegates that Zimswitch considers security and trust as essential elements of the digital community,” he said.