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The future of digital payments in post-COVID Mauritius

Updated On : January 2021

In Mauritius, the move to digital payments has been increased during the COVID-19 outbreak. It has accelerated the case of digital payments at an unprecedented level. There has been seen an increase in usage of online and mobile banking platforms, mobile money wallets. To provide contactless payments services banks have launched new payment platforms like SBM Easy Pay, MCB JuicePro and my.t bill pay.

The Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd., had invested in tap-and-go and upgraded Point of Sale and increased the contactless limit to MUR 2,500. They have seen a four-fold increase in contactless transactions and over 50 percentage grow-on-grow during the pandemic. The payments from mobile channels have increased by 200 percentage during the lockdown.

Bank of Mauritius (BOM) has also seen a significant increase in the number of transactions processed on their systems during the pandemic. Now BOM is building the ecosystem like other countries have started to consider the central bank digital currency (CBDC) including for low transactions, BOM to is exploring the possibility for introducing a CBDC.

The COVID scenario is unfolding, its impact on customer behaviour and its expectations and the businesses will become more apparent. To support the recovery and adapting the new normal, the digital payments ecosystem will evolve rapidly and will help to shape the post-COVID era.

Fundamentals that will drive the way forward

  • Banks are now offering fee waiver on digital payments and cash withdrawals from third-party ATMs
  • Central Banks are offering the moratorium on loans and credit card dues
  • Immediate financial assistance is provided from the Government via Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT)
  • Increase in transactions being converted into EMI owing to the slowdown
  • Increase in contactless payments, SMS link-based payments and wearables
  • Educating the customer about anti-money laundering or fraud
  • Virtual card issuance and its usage has been increased
  • Online presence of small and medium businesses increased
  • Contactless loan processing and issuance of credit cards
  • Adoption of digital payments has been increasingly showing a shift in consumer behaviour
  • Omnichannel banking solutions provided by banks and financial institutions

The recent budget announcements, highlighted the government’s initiative on creation of CBDC by the Bank of Mauritius, as one of the key products to give a boost to the digital financial services sector in the country.

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