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Coronavirus hits Zambia’s banking services

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 19 Mar 2020
Customers in Zambia advised to avoid visiting branches and rather use mobile money platforms.
Customers in Zambia advised to avoid visiting branches and rather use mobile money platforms.

A surge in digital payments is expected in Zambia after the country recorded its first confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Banks are now advising clients to use digital payment services rather than visit banks.

Banks including Absa and AB have contacted customers via text messages.

In a message Absa said, “Dear customer, your health is our priority. Stay safe and go digital by using our online and mobile banking, POS machines and ATMs-#COVID-19.”

AB sent a message which reads: “AB Bank lets you transact from the safety of your home to avoid coronavirus. Dial *303*7*00*3# on MTN MOMO to send money to your account.”

Telecom analysts predict a sharp increase in the number of mobile money accounts and usage as the perception that cash is ‘unclean’ takes hold.

Alfred Zulu, senior telecoms researcher at the Computer Association of Zambia said: “We expect contactless payments to come up as a new option for consumers who are worried about what they touch. Already many people are worried that cash could be a conduit through which coronavirus is transmitted and so they are resorting to using mobile money for payments.”

On 18 March Zambia’s minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya confirmed that the country has recorded the first two coronavirus cases.

“I regret to inform the nation that Zambia has confirmed its first two cases of COVID-19. The patients are a Zambian couple who just returned from a holiday in France. They were screened at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and put under home quarantine as they did not display symptoms at the time of arrival but later they tested positive.”

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