More Zambians utilizing digital financial services

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Moses Zulu, a trader at Soweto Market in Lusaka, the Zambian capital, insists on using mobile money as he is able to track transactions without stress.

“I encourage my customers to pay for goods using mobile money as it is very convenient for both buyers and sellers,” said Zulu, 33, who trades in ladies’ clothing. “I do not have to worry about adding up figures as the system does that for me. Aside from that, keeping hard cash can cause one to spend on non-essential things.”

Like Zulu, many Zambians are becoming more aware of the benefits of buying goods and services using digital financial services such as mobile money.

Musonda Chanda, a 29-year-old hairdresser based in Chibombo district in central Zambia, asserts that keeping lots of cash in a purse is risky as the money can easily be stolen.

“There is also the issue of hygiene. With digital financial services, the risks of catching diseases as cash notes are passed on from one person to another are minimized,” Chanda noted.

She further observed that the idea of a much-talked-about cashless society is already here as more people are utilizing digital financial platforms for trade.

And women’s savings groups in Zambia are also encouraging their members to utilize digital financial services to send and receive monies to their groups.

“Digital money services are helping to cut down on expenses. We now have very few physical meetings but still carry out all of the group’s obligations using phones,” said Lillian Sakala, 45, a member of a savings group based in Chilanga district about 20 km south of Lusaka.

The Bank of Zambia, the country’s central bank, said that the number of mobile networks operator-based mobile money users increased from 4,852,040 at Dec. 31, 2019 to 8,607,461 at Dec. 31, 2020.

According to a June 2021 report by Zambian Financial Sector Deepening (FSD Zambia), an organization working to enhance financial inclusion, digital payments have proven to be useful in Zambia during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

The FSD Zambia report also said that Zambians have been increasingly using mobile money for utility payments, loan borrowing and repayment and saving. Enditem

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