In an apparent move to attract subscribers to use its EcoCash mobile payment service, Econet announced this week that for a week they’ll subsidize the kombi* fare by US 25 cents for people paying via EcoCash. For some users of EcoCash this means as much as half of the fare will be paid by Econet just for using their platform.
EcoCash Commuter, the service that allows mobile money users on the Econet network to pay bus fare using EcoCash was launched just over a month ago. For most, the main advantage of the new payment method is clear; it’s a solution to the change problem. But it has its drawbacks, the main one being that compared to just taking out a coin and paying the regular way, paying via EcoCash is a process. Users have to go through USSD menus to pay and after paying the kombi crew has to do manual verifications to check who has and who hasn’t paid. And while we’re on the kombi crews, the EcoCash payment method means they won’t handle cash anymore, something they’re likely not to be excited about.
Whether the getting-your-change benefit outweighs the drawbacks of the process is something we will all have to wait and see of course. So far it’s not clear what the uptake has been, and it might actually be too early to tell, but we’ll sure make an effort to find out in the coming weeks.
We’re guessing the kombi subsidies have been limited to a week just in case the promo gets too popular and becomes ridiculously expensive for Econet. Nothing says this won’t be extended or done again in future depending on how this week goes. Or maybe a random discount in future like they are doing with Buddie Zone?
On EcoCash payments, last week the company showed it’s intending to move as fast as possible into the payments market. The company announced via adverts that subscribers can now pay for goods at selected retail outlets via EcoCash. One such retailer is Innscor’s Chicken Inn, a fast food outlet.