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A number of financial services providers owned internal switches to cater for their customers or were connected to some switching arrangement to cater for customers of banks belonging to that particular switch. The implications were that customers of some of the financial institutions that do not belong to such arrangements were excluded from enjoying such facilities. Additionally, when it came to payment for goods or services by customers using electronic payment channels such as debit cards, similar limitations would apply forcing some to open several accounts in order to meet these financial obligations or travel distances to transact where particular devices were deployed. This state of affairs compelled customers to have several electronic cards which they could use to meet each financial settlement need; which is inconveniencing.

While tremendous progress was being made by various actors in improving the retail payment system arena by provision of electronic financial services through ATM, POS, mobile banking and Payments and internet banking services by individual banks, as well as other non-bank financial institutions, these efforts remained disjointed and had a minimal impact in increasing financial inclusion in Zambia. Despite these initiatives by the financial sector, cash remained the predominant medium of exchange among transacting parties in the country notwithstanding the associated risks and the cost to the national economy.

The National Switch Project was in direct support of the Bank of Zambia 2013 to 2017 National Payment System Vision and Strategy, to modernize the national payment system by among other ways, promoting interoperability among various providers of payment services to allow sharing of platforms.

It was also in line with ZECHL’s strategic plan and mission statement of providing an efficient, reliable, secure and cost-effective inter-bank clearing service to the Zambian banking industry. By directly supporting these strategic plans, this project would greatly improve the payment system in the country and be of great benefit to transacting parties and to the national economy as a whole.




The goal of the project was to deliver cost effective financial switching services that are efficient, reliable and secure in order to promote financial inclusion through innovative solutions in Zambia.


  • Reduce infrastructure acquisition and transaction costs through shared centralized infrastructure among financial institutions and customers in Zambia 

  • Provide/Promote a multifaceted inter-bank switching platform for all delivery channels that will easily be interoperable with other payment and settlement systems

  • Promote the development of electronic products (e-products) and delivery channels that would extend the coverage of financial services in Zambia 

  •  To reduce the usage of cash and paper based financial instruments in Zambia through the introduction of secure and reliable electronic payment methods. Promote real-time payment of transactions through Straight Through Processing (STP) in order to enhance efficiency.


  • Existing local switches

  • financial services providers

  • ATM/POS and Mobile banking and payments,



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