Steward Bank introduces “free Friday swiping” as cash shortages bite

Steward Bank introduces “free Friday swiping” as cash shortages bite

HARARE, June 2 (The Source) – After admitting that it was guilty of overcharging its customers, Steward Bank on Thursday said it will allow its bank users to swipe at its point of sale machines (POS) for free every Friday till mid-July.

The move, a first by a major bank, is designed to promote use of plastic money by its customers as cash shortages deepen.

Many bank customers shun use of plastic money due to thehigh costs charged by banks for transacting.

“Transact for free at our POS every Friday until July 15, 2016,” Steward Bank said on Thursday.

The bank, which boasted of having added 60,000 new customers in 2015, said the free swiping initiative was currently targeted at its own clients using the proprietary card, debit and credit MasterCards.

The move follows an admission on Tuesday by bank executives, including Steward Bank’schief executive Lance Mambondiani, that bank charges in the country were “extortionate”.

“I share your outrage, it does not make sense that members of the public are charged the extortionate amounts that are charged by some banks including ourselves. It doesn’t make sense,” he said during a discussion on banks charges.

He also pledged thathis bank would halve its $10 Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) charge. However, Mambondiani called on RBZ to cut the $2,80 levied on banks for each RTGS transaction.

Steward Bank is currently aggressively rolling out POS machines at retail outlets in the country.