Are Zimbabweans ready for exclusive internet banking?

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So three banks have gone exclusive with internet banking or mobile banking when it comes to processing RTGS and internal transfers. First, it was NMB when they switched to just internet and mobile banking then ZB Bank followed along in early September and for them, transfers are now only done through internet banking. Recently, Steward Bank joined the club and now their transfers are only done through mobile banking or internet banking.

All these changes have brought about different opinions from people who have encountered the information. Most of the contributions from people revolve around the question are Zimbabweans ready for internet banking as the only option for them to make transactions as is in the case of these banks.

Yes, some of them offer mobile banking which can be done through USSD code and they also have mobile apps you can use but the apps require you to have an active internet connection. So of the 3 methods that are available (on average) to make transfers, 2 of them require you to have an internet connection. Which brings us back to that questions since the solutions heavily rely on the internet. Let’s take a look at the different views.

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Exclusive really is exclusive with internet banking

Well, when we say that they have gone exclusive with mobile or internet banking, it’s more than just that that’s what they are only offering for you to do RTGS transfers, it involves people also. Just by the act of going exclusively, the banks have already excluded some people who are not that familiar with internet banking yet alone the internet at all. Consider what some people said below.

Some of the comments like how it’s discriminating the generation of people that aren’t that internet savvy might seem extreme. However, the person does bring a valid point, can the banks train a dozen grandmothers to use internet banking? Just a dozen. Imagine increasing this number to include all the grandmothers who have banks?

Maybe they don’t need to be trained since their children can just process everything for them? What about the next concern raised by the other person, you might not always have access to the internet so it then seems like the banks didn’t think this through? What will you do if you have a critical payment to make and you’re nowhere near an internet connection? I mean people recently felt the power EcoCash has over their day to day transaction when it went down, now imagine no internet, no EcoCash…

Change has to come one way or another, might as well force internet banking on you

Well, yes they could be excluding other people but change has to come one way or another and sometimes, waiting for the people who don’t yet understand the new technology will just limit progress. So should the technology just be forced on everyone so that the collective banking system moves forward? Someone definitely thinks so, consider the below comment that came after Steward Bank moved to being exclusive to mobile and internet banking.

we all need to force people, coz some are just rejecting because they are technophobic. remember we did not go to school to learn how to use our phones. of cause going exclusively without notifying is bad – Gideon (commenting on Steward Bank goes exclusive with mobile and online banking, no more manual transfers article)

This person makes a very valid point also, some people are just afraid of what they don’t know. So just bring the scary thing to them then you can teach them how to not be scared of the new technology and how to use it. This is very similar to Bitcoin, not many people in Zimbabwe understand what it is but it’s already being used now and people are getting educated about Bitcoin as things go along.

So should the education come first then the change? Or should they happen at the same time? Or maybe just bring the change with no other options and educate afterwards? so what do we do then given how what we wish for may not be what reality is demanding us to do?

The ground doesn’t always map to the ideal scenario

Now, this is one of those articles where I won’t tell you the answer to the question. Instead, I would like us to discuss this, whether it is in the comments section or on Twitter or even Facebook, let us know your views about this. What do you think is the case. Are Zimbabweans ready for exclusive internet banking or they are not?

Should the changes come slowing instead of just cutting out all other possible methods of doing RTGS transfers in hopes that people will adapt? The reason it’s better to discuss (which is always better anyways) is that the ground doesn’t always map to the ideal situation. For example, data is not the most affordable thing for Zimbabweans.

So imagine now, you got to buy airtime to do the transactions of which you’ll be charged again so you’re literally incurring double expenses. Another thing is that not everyone who has a bank account has internet access, some people would even argue that the majority don’t have a constant working internet connection.

You see, as much as it is great to have all banks just offer internet banking, it might not be the best thing when we look at the ground. However, Zimbabweans might actually be ready for it? Maybe bringing this drastic change will affect data prices for the better? Maybe the apps will be zero-rated on the mobile operator networks then the cost of access won’t be a problem?

Let us know what you think. Let’s discuss this, in the end, you might just come up with a solution to bringing new technology while still not excluding other people to basic financial access. So two questions: Are Zimbabweans ready for exclusive mobile or internet banking or any method of banking which requires an internet connection? and how do you think the changes should be brought about if they’re ready and if they’re not ready?

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