Econet says more than 200 kombis now accepting EcoCash

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EcoCashLast week we reported that Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, is in the process of introducing its ┬ámobile money service, EcoCash, in the transport sector. We got a tip from a student at one university where the company had, apparently, rolled out a pilot. We just got a press release from them that says more than 200 commuter omnibus (“kombi” in local lingo) operators have started accepting EcoCash money for bus fare from commuters.

Curiously though, the release is titled “Econet to pay companies that take EcoCash”. The first thing we thought when we read that was “Isn’t that what they’re supposed to do anyway?” – to make sure people or businesses that accept mobile money can convert it into real cash that is? So we tried getting a clarification but they’re busy right now, and us being the impatient ones, we’re posting anyway.

Here’s the exact wording of part of the release:

Businesses that accept payment in EcoCash are now able to exchange it for cash at Econet Wireless Zimbabwe approved banks, the company has announced.

Econet said hundreds of companies have already signed agreements to take EcoCash payments which they can cash in at TN Bank.

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Other banks were expected to offer the service within two weeks. “We are working to get all banks on board by the end of October,” said Mr Darlington Mandivenga, a senior executive at the company.

We suspect the wording of the release has to do with concerns in the market, some of them expressed in the comments to our previous article, about the ease (or lack thereof) with which the Kombi operators can access real cash during the day to pay for things like fuel, food and… ahem, bribes to the powers that be on the road.

The release also says that the EcoCash Kombi service has proved popular since launch last week. Exactly how popular though is probably still too early for the company to measure.

7 Comments

  1. Mwalimu says:

    Picture this: A policeman/woman asking for a toll fee from a Kombi driver and the Kombi driver says “I have no cash, but I can ask the owner of the Kombi to transfer to you via Ecocash!”. Seriously this will stop the “toll” fees issue. On the issue of paying for fuel, the service stations might as well be on Ecocash as well.

  2. tamisa says:

    What is the real cost to the ecocash user is my question, how much more are they paying for the convenience. Is there a commission fee attached to using the service? 2. Who do we transfer the money to the Kombi Driver of the owners of the Kombi’s. Wont there a problem there.

  3. Cde_Hero says:

    This is a good development. I think there is need for all mobile operators to introduce this kind of service and balance the market. I do not trust Econet because the more the Country depend on these Econet payment systems, the more powerful is Econet and one day Econet will hold the country at ransom if things do not go their way. Remember how they arrogantly switched off Netone because they new they had the bigger muscles.

  4. Colourbue says:

    Interesting developments I was actually wondering hw I could get paid for the small business I have just started, now ecocash will just prove to be useful unlike when they started charging the same fees ay my banker

  5. Magneto says:

    “Clampdown on Touts and Rank Marshalls bring sanity to bus termini”. “Econet announces over 200 “kombis” now accepting Ecocash as payment for fares.” What a coincidence!

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