DRC Modernise Payments With New Interbank Card Switch

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has taken a massive leap towards payments modernisation with the implementation of an interbank switch called Multipay. Multipay is an initiative of the interbank company Interswitch GIE that was created by the four major banks in the DRC: ProCredit Bank, Rawbank, BCDC and FBNBank.

BankservAfrica, operator of Africa’s largest interoperable payments switch, has played a major role in implementing the interbank switch with the assistance of the DRC in-country operations partner, Infoset.

Multipay enables customers from the four banks to transact with their debit cards at any of the four banks’ ATMs or point-of-sale (POS) devices. This means that cardholders can now withdraw up to 5 000 USD and check their account balances from a wider ATM network. It also offers cardholders the benefit of free POS transactions at various merchants. The good news for merchants is that they will no longer need to carry multiple POS devices in order to trade with customers.

The Multipay ATM, POS and branch network is spread throughout the DRC. “Now cardholders no longer have to travel long distances to draw money from their own bank as they can use any of the Multipay terminals,” says Sebastien Mortier, CEO of Interswitch GIE. “The DRC is very large and transport options are limited and expensive. We are excited about bringing the convenience of interbank transactions closer to the people in areas where access to ATMs was very limited. At the moment only four banks are on the Multipay network but we are looking to extend this network to include more member banks in the near future,” he says.

“Modern markets demand increased transactional volumes and faster turnaround times and together with the diversifying electronic retail payments landscape, shifting consumer habits and growing regulatory burdens – point towards the need for modern payment systems offering performance, availability and scalability”, says Martin Grunewald, COO of BankservAfrica’s Africa division.

The implementation includes back-end reporting, Switch Query System (SQS), settlement components and uses the TANGO platform from Lusis Payments to run the ATM and debit card services. The TANGO software solution is a transaction processing system for switching, authenticating and authorising across multiple channels. It was first launched in South Africa and the DRC is the second African country where it is deployed. At this stage the system operates as a single message system for debit cards. “Our contribution to modernizing the payments in DRC for further product expansion will see the implementation of a dual message clearing system for credit card transactions as well,” says Grunewald.