While most Kenyans may know of KenSwitch and Ugandans may know of Inter-Switch, those in Rwanda know of R-Switch. What you may not know is that the Switches that help ease digital payments have come together and integrated to become Umoja Switch – the Tanzanian version of switch.
In addition to Kenya’s Paynet, the digital payment solutions will now be part of a shared network that aims to make it easy for and provide business people with more options to carry out transactions across countries, without having to carry hard cash around.
If you know about KenSwitch, you know that the card allows the user to effectively and with ease make real-time transactions in one’s local currency, eliminating the need for cash and reducing cases of theft or loss. And In the same way do the other switches work.
The shared network initiative will allow people in the East African region, with the exception of Burundi, to use an ATM card at any Umoja Switch ATMs to be available in all the four countries and will support country-specific currencies, meaning that a user will not need to convert from one currency to another.
“With the use of the Umoja Switch-shared network in the region, business people and other card holders will have assurance of getting cash and perform their transactions timely at any country within the region,” said Danford Mbilinyi, CEO Umoja Switch.
Promoting a connected East Africa community like is being encouraged, phase one of the initiative plans to allow for ATM withdrawals and check bank account balance at any of the Switch ATMs, as well as facilitate for withdrawals without extra charges.
The initiative could not come at a better time as it follows the successful launch of the East Africa Payment System (EAPS) that is now a year old and boasts to have improved security, efficiency as well as effectiveness in the transfer of funds within the East Africa Community (EAC).
EAPS was introduced to help reduce costs and the amount of time used in realisation of money transfers within the banking sector in order to boost trade and financial flows to grow the region’s economy. Now with the shared initiative that has partnered various banks, business across EAC is set for great growth.
Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda are now earmarked for the Umoja cards that seek to promote trade in the region and boost payments within the region for a better economy and a more connected community.