Welcome to yet another instalment of random musings on all things digital transformation. As is custom, I like to start with a wellness check-in as we wrap up an eventful first quarter of 2023.
We must stay strong in order to achieve the various goals that we have set for ourselves. Winston Churchill once famously said that you will not get where you are going if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks at you. I can only surmise that he meant that one must not allow themselves to be distracted when one is on a journey. We have a lot of work to do!
This week I wanted to delve quickly into a space so broad yet so potentially lucrative, which is around payments. The payment landscape has changed exponentially in the last couple of decades. For example, who remembers traveller’s cheques and drafts, and more recently, telegraphic transfer forms? It seems every single day there is a newer way to pay. I still, however, find that the channel migration strategy sometimes does not always bring into focus the customer benefit or the customer journey. My experience is that these journeys are sometimes disjointed from reality.
The Bank of Botswana has decided to discontinue use of cheques as a form of payment, fully executable next year, 2024. I must also state that this is also the case across other central banks, mainly South Africa and Namibia, who have preceded us with this stance. This may sound quite redundant to people who use digital payment methods but it is also noted that there are whole value chains reliant on the use of cheques currently.
The reason behind this decision, aside from receiving regulatory approval, can be attributed to, among other things, the declining efficiencies associated with cheques as a form of payment (with turnaround times of payment), rising costs associated with processing these transactions as some of the systems supporting them are out of warranty and support, and issues around fraudulent transactions emanating from forgery and cheque kiting. There were also concerns raised about cheques being a spreader of the Covid-19 virus.
However, on the consumer side of things, there is a general sentiment of lack of trust with regard to use of digital platforms. I believe it is also due to literacy levels and ease of use on some of these digital platforms that intimidate many. This has dampened the uptake of a lot of digitally-led payment methods. We also have to be mindful of the need to ensure the inclusivity of all the unbanked in all the interventions we conduct.
Is your organisation digitally-ready to facilitate payments? What are your major impediments? What would you need to be ready?
Talk to you soon.
Montwedi ‘Monty’ Bakwena is a Digital Transformation Professional with a focus on issues of customer experience strategy, digital operations integration, channel migration, and public-private partnerships.
@LinkedIn _Montwedi Bakwena