South Africa Launches 2025 Vision for its National Payment’s System

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) published The National Payment System Framework and
Strategy Vision 2025 which sets out the goals and strategies for the national payments industry, aimed at building a world-class national payment system (NPS) that serves the economy and the people of South Africa. A national payment system is a set of arrangements and infrastructures, the bulk of which are not visible to the public, that enable consumers businesses and other entities to transfer funds to one another using accounts they have at financial institutions.

As a public service, it is vital that payment systems are capable of meeting the evolving needs of South
Africans while helping to address the challenges and structural deficiencies faced by the country. Payment system developments in the past decade have been rapid, overshadowing those of previous decades. As part of these developments, consumers have benefitted from innovations such as mobile and Internet payments, which make electronic payments and remittances possible across jurisdictions.

In its regulatory, supervisory and oversight capacity, the SARB plays an important role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of the NPS. The payment settlement infrastructure owned and operated by the SARB also plays a key role in the day-to-day functioning of the NPS.

As the regulator of the payments system, the SARB believes it is vital that payment systems are capable of meeting the evolving needs of South Africans and contribute indirectly towards addressing other challenges (such as high unemployment rate, low savings rates and income inequalities) and structural deficiencies faced by the country.

The Vision 2025 publication maps out an overarching vision for the industry and also sets out the following nine goals:

  • A clear and transparent regulatory and governance framework
  • Transparency and public accountability
  • Financial stability and security
  • Promoting competition and innovation
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Interoperability
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Regional integration
  • Financial inclusion

Furthermore, the fair application of regulation to all participants offering similar services will ensure a level playing field, which further boosts competition and innovation in the provision of payment services through the development of new products and services.

The objectives of Vision 2025 include increased consumer trust and familiarity with electronic payments
systems. The goals of Vision 2025 are aligned to the economic development goals contained in the National Development Plan, and they should help to achieve broader societal objectives such as financial inclusion. It is the objective of the SARB that the implementation of the strategies will lead to a world class payment system.