The Point of Sale machines appear redundant in supermarkets with the till operator waiting for customers to do their transactions. These are not electronic transactions they will be waiting for but hard cash. This has even become the norm even with these point of sale machines in this cash crisis. I
I was with a colleague doing some late shopping at Bon Marche Avondale and we wanted to pay using the Ecocash debit card. The situation was saddening as I waited in a long queue which was prolonged for the POS machines were few leading has to wait in a long queue to pay before the till attendant asked a colleague for the machine.
By Marvelous Chibagidi
This embarrassing situation brings forth this among many other questions if Zimbabwe is ready for the cashless society. Those who are trying to embrace the cashless society are enduring this cumbersome trend in supermarkets where one has to wait to be referred to another till that has POS as the till attendants prefer those with cash.
Worse still, the situation gets more dire as the till operators cite network problems with the system. Other customers will leave the till empty handed for the POS will be malfunctioning.
Is the cashless society possible with the cashless banks?
Many retailers including clubs,pubs,restaurants and even clothing boutiques have since started using POS machines to ease the doing the business for the service provider and also the client.
Many informal traders in Zimbabwe are yet to adopt the plastic money system with reference to those who ply their trade in the CBD and the outskirts.
The POS might be of importance to informal traders as some already use them for electronic transactions but these machines have a negative ripple effect on buyers who may need hard cash at wholesalers.
It gets more boggling. Everyone in my family acquired their EcoCash debit cards simultaneously meaning they would expire on the same day. We tried renewing them only to find Ecocash ran out of these cards. Its been a struggle to renew the cards as I surveyed three Econet shops that is Westgate, Joina City and First Street Branch that said the cards would be out in a fortnight.
It will take the smooth operation of things by the provider and the consumer and also the central bank to work hand in hand. But the road to a cashless future is littered with high charges, distrust of banks, poor infrastructure, and a people that simply want money they can see.
Government offices still demand cash, and just try swiping your bank card when you are in front of an impatient month-end or back-to-school supermarket queue.