Steward Bank doesn’t seem to be holding back from innovating services that improves customer services. Banking is not banking if it excludes the majority. Late December last year Steward Bank launched its new product – the Globetrotter card. And today, it has launched a portable POS machine named Kwenga. Steward Bank is simply responding to the needs of people, moreover, as a bank it understands its current environment and what it needs and that has been of ‘financial inclusion for everyone.’ If you are to include everyone you have to first understand what everyone is doing and develop products specifically for them. That’s what Kwenga does.
Financial inclusion is a critical enabler for poverty reduction and inclusive growth. Access to transaction accounts opens up a pathway to broader financial inclusion, whereby people and firms can make financial transactions more efficiently and safely, access funds (whether payments, credit, savings, or other) invest in the future, and cope with economic shocks. Access to transaction accounts also enables participation in the digital economy, and is a critical building block for digital development too.
Zimbabwe is going cashless, we all know it’s not because of a collective decision but rather necessity. We do have a serious cash crisis in the country and swipe, mobile money and RTGS have played a significant role in alleviating the people from the full wrath of the crisis.
Today, Steward Bank unveiled Kwenga, a portable POS machine which is specially crafted for Small to Medium Enterprise (SME). And I’m sure as we know, the country has more of SME than anything else, which makes Kwenga quite relevant.
Steward Bank has always targeted the most ignored yet most populated market. When every other bank had high bank charges and a multiple requirements prior to opening a bank, Steward Bank came along with the its lower charges and prerequisites and as a result the iSave account attracted about half a million Zimbabweans.
Where an ordinary POS machine costs $600 – $700 to acquire, Kwenga costs only $35 for the smaller device and $200 for the bigger one. The device allows for up to 5 users to share, hence the costs of acquiring the machine can be shared as well.
For micropayments that are below a dollar, Kwenga does not attract any extra charges. This is huge because it means people can now swipe in Kombis. You know how your cash worries begin whenever you think of commuting, well done right Kwenga should make life much simpler for us.
Added to that, Kwenga allows you to swipe into Ecocash. Ecocash is the most used digital payment platform in Zimbabwe, taking about 80% of all e-transactions.
The Kwenga merchant portal is available on internet banking, mobile banking and even on your phone that does not access the internet (kambudzi). Here you can apply for Kwenga loans without having to visit the bank. Their algorithms look at your activity and decide if you get one.