Although Tanzania remains largely a cash economy, the progress it is making towards inclusive digital finance is impressive with NMB Bank playing a decisive role in promoting growth of a robust retail payments market, Mastercard International has said.
Late last week, the global pioneer in payment innovation and technology recognised the bank for its unrivalled investment in digital innovation and supporting national efforts to make the country a cashless society.
The American multinational acknowledged the NMB Bank’s digital economy endeavours and its financial inclusion commitment after naming it the fastest growth bank in card usage in Tanzania.
NMB was on Friday awarded a special trophy for posting a staggering growth in Mastercard payment cards usage that exceeded its highest ever point of sale spend record whose gross dollar value went up 30 per cent year on year.
“Mastercard International Congratulates NMB Bank for Record Growth in Card Usage in Tanzania 2021,” reads the recognition wording on the plaque.
The company said NMB Bank is the first bank to get such a recognition in the region after becoming the first and only lender to have ever increased usage of the Mastercard payment cards by over 100 per cent in 12 months.
NMB’s Chief of Retail Banking, Mr Filbert Mponzi, said the monumental feat, which was attained between June 2020 and June 2021, was a direct outcome of two digital development trends.
Firstly the massive growth of both the number of NMB Mastercard users and holders who now exceed three million and then the unprecedented increase in point of sales (POS) transactions using the cards that went up by 104 per cent during the period.
“Today is a monumental day not only for NMB Bank but for the development of digital finance and financial inclusion in Tanzania,” Mr Mponzi said.
“This Mastercard reward is for recognising our endless efforts to champion digital inclusion in the country and supporting the national quest for a cashless economy,” he added.
Mr Mponzi said the recognition is yet another accolade for NMB’s market leadership and the latest award among the many it has scooped this year for operational excellence.
According to him, NMB leads in almost every aspect of banking, including profit making, deposits mobilisation, total assets and now card payments. To maintain the position, he explained, NMB will continue to strategically invest and innovate channels that offer card and payment solutions in the country.
“Our leadership in card issuance is attributed to both the technology investments and the dedicated team of professionals who advise on the best solutions for clients’ needs,” the consumer banking expert pointed out.
“We will continue to drive the right payment behaviour for our customers and Tanzania at large and we are pleased to work together with MasterCard, whose global payments technology and expertise have provided relevant payment products for our growing customer base.”
Their cards venture dates back to 2014 when they formed a partnership to use electronic payments to help reduce cash dependence and back the national financial inclusion agenda.
MasterCard Country Manager for East Africa, Mr Shehryar Ali, commended NMB and the whole of Tanzania for their concerted digital finance and innovation efforts.
However, he said cash was still king in the country but very expensive for the economy. The cost of cash in Tanzania is currently two per cent of GDP, which is very expensive because the money has to be printed, stored, transported and secured, he noted.
He said up to 90 per cent of all transactions in Tanzania are still done in cash adding that the rewarding of NMB has more to do than the Mastercard card usage growth record.
“We are also celebrating NMB for being a key pillar of financial inclusion in Tanzania and champion of digital finance who has been of great service to the country and its people,” he added.