The National Association of Savings and Credit Unions (NASCU), the apex organisation for all financial cooperatives in Zambia, and global payments technology company Mastercard have announced a landmark agreement to drive financial inclusion by extending formal financial products and services to underserved members of cooperatives.
Under this agreement, NASCU will introduce a secure, efficient and transparent electronic payment system to streamline and automate payments including payroll, loans, and disbursements to its savings and credit cooperative members. It will also issue 1.5 million Mastercard contactless debit payment cards to its members over the next five years, providing them with a convenient electronic payment tool to receive and make safe and simple payments for everyday commerce activities.
The initiative aligns with Zambia’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy 2017 to 2022 – which aims to increase financial inclusion from 59 percent to 80 percent – by enabling more people and businesses to access digital payments and formal financial services.
“We are pleased to partner with Mastercard to deliver world class services and products to our cooperative members, allowing them to reap the benefits of financial inclusion and improve their livelihoods,” says William Kanyika, Managing Director of NASCU. “By electronifying our payments system, we can better understand our cooperative members’ behaviours and needs, in turn allowing us to deliver better quality products and services in support of the government’s vision to deliver financial services to every citizen in the country.”
This initiative is a fundamental building block in developing a modernised and inclusive payments ecosystem in Zambia. With Mastercard’s wide acceptance footprint, cardholders will be able to securely transact around the world at any Point of Sale or ATM that accepts Mastercard.
The debit card programme is designed with affordability and accessibility in mind, offering safer, faster and more efficient ways for Zambians to manage their finances, while reducing their exposure to the safety risks and high transactional costs of handling cash.
“Savings and Credit unions provide a vital role in connecting the underserved to financial services and the formal economy,” says Mark Elliott, division president of Mastercard Southern Africa. “This collaboration with NASCU represents a major step forward in our strategy to create a cashless society and build an inclusive financial sector that supports the socio-economic development of the country.”