Zimbabwe says individuals should now have only one mobile wallet


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Zimbabwe has ordered mobile money operators to ensure that individuals have only one wallet and should close all multiple wallets with immediate effect.

The measure announced by the central bank yesterday in its mid-term monetary policy statement is aimed at curbing misuse of mobile money to fuel the black market.

It said it had adopted these measures following a forensic audit to assess the integrity, compliance and efficacy of mobile money platforms and transactions in Zimbabwe.

The measures announced by the central bank are:

Individuals

  1. Transactions by individuals shall be pegged at ZW$5 000 per day. Individuals shall be allowed to undertake Person to Person transfers, Person to Merchant payments for goods and services, settlement of bills and purchase of airtime.
  2. Following the suspension and freezing of agent and bulk-payer wallets on 27 June, 2020, mobile money operators have allowed illegal foreign currency dealers to use multiple individual wallets as a means to bypass the transaction limits and continue with their illicit transactions. Mobile money operators shall, with immediate effect, close all multiple wallets, and allow just one wallet per individual.

Merchants

  1. Retailers and other service providers will be permitted to continue operating merchant wallets to allow the public to pay for goods and services.
  2. Merchants shall not be allowed to make payments from their wallets. E-value held in merchant wallets shall be liquidated to the merchant’s bank account.
  3. In this regard, mobile money operators shall have systems in place to ensure automatic liquidations from the merchant wallets to the merchant bank accounts. This measure shall ensure that mobile payment platforms are not used for store of value but shall be restricted for transacting purposes in furtherance of financial inclusion in the economy.

Agents

  1. Agent wallets are no longer serving any legitimate purpose and were now being used primarily for illegal foreign exchange transactions. Agents’ mobile money wallets are therefore abolished, with immediate effect.
  2. Agents currently holding value in suspended and frozen wallets shall be allowed to liquidate the funds to their bank accounts, upon the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) having satisfied itself of the legitimacy of the source of funds.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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