Thandiwe Katinhimure, Business Reporter
BULAWAYO Chamber for Small to Medium Enterprises has welcomed the introduction of a portable Point of Sale (POS) machine as the device is expected to boost small businesses’ revenues and encourage a banking culture.
Last week one of the country’s commercial banks, Steward Bank, scored a first by introducing a portable POS device called Kwenga, which it said addresses the challenges faced by small businesses that had difficulties in buying traditional POS machines.
It said the device was largely aimed at serving the Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector including vendors.
In light of the cash crisis being experienced in the country, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is encouraging the transacting public to embrace the use of plastic money and electronic payment platforms.
The SMEs and vendors were failing to benefit from the use of ordinary POS machines because they could not afford the gadgets.
An ordinary POS machine costs between $600 and $700 while the Kwenga device is selling for $35 for the smaller device and $200 for the bigger one and the device can also be used by up to five users.
Steward Bank has said the cost of its Kwenga device can also be shared.
Through Kwenga, users can swipe and also use Econet’s mobile money transfer platform, EcoCash.
In an interview, Bulawayo Chamber for SMEs chairperson Mr Energy Majazi has lauded Steward Bank for launching a portable POS machine.
“We are happy following the introduction of the Kwenga device on the market. It will enhance our revenues as well as encourage a banking culture. In the past we have been losing a lot of business as some of our customers could not transact with us using plastic money,” he said.
Mr Majazi said the cost of the portable POS machine was relatively low making it accessible to most small businesses.
The Kwenga merchant portal is available on internet banking, mobile banking and even the simplest mobile phone devices.
Steward Bank, a subsidiary of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has said the device was meant for the most ignored yet mostly populated market, the SMEs sector.
“Due to the economic downturn in the country, SMEs are the most dominant to anything else which then makes Kwenga relevant. For micropayments below a dollar, Kwenga has no charges which means it can be used by vendors and kombie operators,” said the bank.
“With the prevailing cash crisis in the country, shopping at the market or travelling has been a problem, therefore, Kwenga comes in as a solution to the crisis at hand.”