The Bank of Namibia’s recently released 2019/20 annual report indicates an increase in cash demand, which may have been triggered by the uncertainties brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic as the public opted for cold, hard cash.
This impact was noted during May, November and December 2020, during which cash demand increased from N$4.13 billion, N$4.41 billion and N$4.52 billion in 2019 to N$4.62 billion, N$4.69 billion, and N$4.71 billion in 2020, respectively.
The central bank also noted that usage of electronic funds transfer (EFT) credit transactions increased from N$23.9 billion in 2019 to N$25.3 billion in 2020. Also, EFT transactions increased during March last year but declined in April and May 2020, compared to 2019 values.
The report also indicated that in June 2020 an increase in EFT credit transactions was recorded to the value of N$21.6 billion in comparison to May 2020, during which N$18.2 billion was recorded.
An overall decline in the usage of EFT credit transactions was noted, compared to the usage in 2019. EFT debit transactions showed the same trends from March 2020 to August 2020. This, the bank noted, could be attributed to the increase in unemployment and the reduction in the purchase of goods and services due to the pandemic. On the other hand, the general use of card transactions increased from N$22 billion in 2019 to N$25 billion by the end of December 2020, which indicates an overall increase in card usage for 2020.
Going into detail, card transactions declined significantly during April 2020 to N$1.2 billion, compared to N$1.6 billion in 2019. This type of payment method increased from May 2020 through to December 2020, with a slight decrease in August. However, an increase was noted for the same months in 2019.