LeSwitch spurs FNB to localise its services

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RETHABILE MOHONO

MASERU – FNB Lesotho has adapted its banking services to cater for the local market more. This decision was made following the introduction of LeSwitch by the Central Bank of Lesotho, aimed at enhancing financial inclusion and adapting to changing payment trends. Leswitch was created to link with different systems such as Point of Sales (POS), Automated Teller Machines (ATM), Mobile Payment Systems, and online commerce platforms in order to simplify electronic transactions and efficiently direct them to payment processors for authorization and settlement.

The system was launched on last Wednesday this week at an event held at Lehakoe Recreational Centre, Maseru. Therefore, FNB Lesotho has announced that it is currently in the process of localising its cards, which includes separating the services provided by the bank’s ATMs, Debit Cards, and POS machines from those in South Africa.

The bank highlighted that its debit cards and POS, which were previously being acquired and settled in South Africa, thereby charging local fees even when clients were transacting in South Africa, has changed. “Meaning that the acquiring and settling of debit cards and POS are now localized, thus attracting international fees when FNB Lesotho clients transact in South Africa,” the bank notice stated.

It further revealed that the transition is in preparation of the National Payment Switch( NPS) project which will result in all domestic ATMs and POS transactions being settled in Lesotho, through the Central Bank of Lesotho’s National Payment Switch.

“The advantage of the debit card localization is that it will provide intra-operationalisation within local banks in Lesotho, thus creating convenience and reducing costs in the future when the Central Bank of Lesotho has launched the National Pay Switch,” it stated.

The bank further mentioned that there would be impacts caused by this transitioning in the ATM & POS Transactions, where all FNB Lesotho card holders are charged international fees when transacting beyond the borders of Lesotho, including in South Africa.

“Upon the launch of the National Payment Switch, there will be reduced fees when clients transact locally as the transactions will no longer be settled in South Africa,” the bank noted. On the POS Transaction, FNB stated that there are improved efficiencies on Merchant Services as a result of these changes.

The bank revealed that some of online third-party payments and receipts were affected by these changes, meaning that they are no longer available. The bank further mentioned that it is working on a long-term solution to resuscitate those services, and communication will follow once the services are restored.

“The localisation of the debit cards is expected to reduce ATM sharing costs domestically once the National Payment Switch has been launched,” explained Delekazi Mokebe, FNB Lesotho CEO.

“This is a significant milestone for FNB Lesotho in aligning with the strategic goal of the country to localize the payments services that are offered by the financial services sector,” Mokebe added. However, the bank promised its customers will be kept updated on the developments that may have an impact on them during this transition period.

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