The National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) has reinstated charges on all cashless transactions after the three months period with zero charges introduced in March this year, as part of the measures to encourage digital transactions due to the New Coronavirus outbreak, elapsed.
A statement issued by the Central Bank Governor John Rwangombwa on Thursday said the move is aimed at ensuring the financial sustainability of digital payments.
The affected services include pull and push services such as transfers between bank accounts and mobile wallets, mobile money transfers and merchant payments for all contactless Points of Sale services which were not being charged since the March 18 BNR directives.
“Considering the expiration of the 90-day period as well as the need to ensure financial sustainability of digital payment services, the National Bank of Rwanda informs the public that charges on the transactions mentioned above will be reinstated with effect from June 22nd 2020,”
“The National Bank of Rwanda reminds all traders and other economic operators that they are required to accept digital payments as a preferred form of payment. The pubic is also encouraged to continue using digital payment and money transfer channels,” the Central Bank said.
BNR said it will continue collaborating with other government institutions, service providers and other stakeholders to ensure the resolution of impediments to digital payments, including any infrastructure, cost of services, financial and digital literacy, operational resilience as well as innovation.
The zero charges on digital transactions were introduced at the time when Rwanda introduced full lockdown measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The new regulations were aimed at cushioning the banking sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite fears that the outbreak would increase non-performing loans (NPLs) and lower loan uptake, BNR predicted that the banking sector would stabilize within six months as the country slowly reopens different sectors of the economy.
However, trade remains low as the borders remain closed. A cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame earlier this week made a decision to cautiously reopen tourism and the hospitality sector.
Last week, the Government of Rwanda announced a Rwf100bn economically recovery fund aimed at resuscitating the economy which has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.