Mobile banking has emerged the fastest growing financial service in the country registering 1,299 percent growth in value last year, according to data from the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) 2012 Payments System Report released last week.

The report reviews trends in payment systems of the financial sector and it says by the end of December 2012, mobile banking services that facilitates money transfers, bill payments had registered a 429 percent growth in number of subscribers reaching close to 177,000 from 33,412 subscribers recorded at the beginning of the year under review.

On the other hand, the central bank says the number of internet banking subscribers registered a 20 percent increase from 17,229 in January last year to 20,647 at the end of December the same year.

However, in terms of value, the Reserve Bank says internet banking services registered a 538 percent growth from K800 million in January last year to K5 billion at the end of the year under review.

“Mobile banking services registered a 1,299 percent rise in value to K600 million in December 2012 from K400, 000 in January 2012,” part of the report says.

Meanwhile, based on the National Strategy, RBM is implementing a short to medium term strategy to increase the adult bankable population from the current 19 percent to 40 percent by 2014.

Financial institutions in the country, through Bankers Association of Malawi, signed a charter to achieve the 40 percent coverage of the national adult population with financial services by next year.

However, the central bank could not give the progress in its report about the trend of new customer registers in the financial services.

According to the report, RBM finalised the development of a template for collecting basic supply-side data on financial inclusion, which is based on Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI’s) core financial inclusion indicators in 2012.

“The template has since been shared with all banks for their comments before the RBM formally starts collecting the supply-side core indicators on financial inclusion from all banks,” RBM said. – By Kingsley Jasi

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