Euronet, a US-based provider of electronic payment services, and the Bank of Mozambique have made a deal for the licensing, implementation and maintenance of the computer system for interbank payments.
Speaking on the matter, the director of the Central bank’s legal office, Luisa Navale said that the Euronet system will be used by the Mozambique Interbank Company (SIMO), which connects most of the commercial banks in the country.
“This is a licence for an indefinite period”, said Navale. “It is certified and it meets the requirements of the international payments system”.
This deal was signed after a five-day blackout of automated teller and card operations of most Mozambican banks.
Bizfirst, the provider that maintained provisional control of the electronic payment system until recently, cut off SIMO’s access to the electronic system in November. Any banks linked to SIMO were unable to handle electronic payments. In essence, meaning that debit cards, ATMs and POS card readers of the affected banks could no longer be used. The Millenium-BIM (International Bank of Mozambique), however, had never joined SIMO, so its payments were not affected.
The blackout was a direct result of an unpaid debt owed by SIMO and lasted from 16 to 21 November, when commercial banks agreed to pay Bizfirst 3.5 million euros.
Euronet will replace Bizfirst, which developed the electronic platform Ponto24, to which most Mozambican banks were connected, and manage the transaction network in Mozambique.
As of yet, there is no installation date for the Euronet system’s integration into SIMO.