Paynet Successor Goes Live in Three Weeks

HARARE– A new bulk payment platform being developed by Zimbabwean banks will go live at the end of this month; a central bank official has said.

“Banks are working on a fully pledged bulk payments system which will go live by the end of July, said William Kavila, director of economic research responsible for policy at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

“Banks are currently using other forms of payments like ZIPIT and the Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS).

Payserv Zimbabwe the owners of Paynet, last month switched off Zimbabwean banks from it’s system after disagreements over the mode of payment to use.

Paynet wanted banks to pay for the serviced in foreign currency, while banks said they could only pay for the service of the local RTGS dollars because they were moving domestic transactions on the platform.

FBC Holdings chief executive officer, John Mushayavanhu, one of the biggest critics of the move by Paynet, said last week that banks will continue to transmit bulk cash without or without Paynet.

“We had a situation where someone is running a business and they want to charge you in foreign currency for a transaction in Zimbabwe dollars. The banks have said no and they have developed a system which is working and which is robust,” Mushayavanhu, told shareholders at the group’s annual general meeting in Harare.

“I was actually being told recently that some of the things which we have been whingeing about because Paynet could not provide, we can now use our own developers and we are able to do some of those things. At the end of the day, we have a better product which we own as banks. All the banks own this product and we will not pay forex for it,” he said.

Paynet Zimbabwe has instructed its lawyers, Titan Law, to commence legal action against the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) and its members.

“Cambria announces that further to its announcement of 12 June, Payserv Africa Limited and Paynet Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd have instructed their legal practitioners in Zimbabwe, Titan Law, to commence legal action against the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe and related parties for anti-competitive practices seeking damages of US$100 million,” the company, listed on the LSE’s AIM market for smaller, growing entities, said last week.

“Payserv Africa and Paynet Zimbabwe continue to engage individually with suspended banks on the Paynet platform as well as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to find a solution to an impasse which has resulted in the suspension of services.”

Cambria lawyer Gerald Mlotshwa told the media last week that the legal action against BAZ and banks was kicking off.

“We can confirm that we have received instructions from our client (Cambria) to sue the banking association and its members for the amount indicated and reasons stated,” he said. “The pertinent pleadings will be filed soon.”

On June 12, Cambria had announced that Paynet’s service to all its bank customers in Zimbabwe had been suspended after close of business on June 10 due to a collective refusal to pay historical and contracted pricing to Payserv Africa in US dollars.

“The company lost US$170 000 providing services to banks in March and April 2019. Banks collectively owe Payserv Africa over US$470 000 for over four million transactions concluded since 1 May 2019. The company cannot allow further accumulation of possible losses … Collectively in 2018, banks netted over US$22 million in profits via charges to its account holders for services provided by Paynet,” Cambria said then.

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