Cashless (and bankless) payments to launch in Malawi

Blantyre Malawi

Payments company Malcolm is set to launch its MobiMax charge card service after gaining approval from the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM).

The scheme offers an alternative to conventional banking by allowing employers to issue cards to their staff with a set limit of 30% of their salary. Employees then use these to pay for goods and services, with the total deducted from their wage packet at the end of the month.

The cards are interest-free, but will incur a small transaction fee for each use. The company says that this will be lower than the cost of using debit and credit cards or withdrawing money from an ATM in Malawi, but has not confirmed the exact amount.

In her official letter of approval, the RBM’s deputy governor Naomi Ngwira reportedly said that she had “no objections” to the creation of the card, which cannot be defined as a debit or credit, or subjected to the associated regulation, because “there is no interface with cardholders’ bank accounts or employees’ or retailers’ bank accounts,” meaning that the card has “no direct effect” on conventional financial systems.

CEO Christoper Kanyuka says that he hopes the cards will offer “security, dignity and class” to users.

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