Between December 2012 and February this year, Econet announced in quick succession, the integration of its EcoCash mobile money transfer service to traditional banks, allowing EcoCash users to transfer money seamlessly between their bank accounts and EcoCash Wallets. It was CBZ, TN Bank, Stanbic, Agribank then ZB Bank.
All the while, the company was making it known that they were open for integration to any bank in Zimbabwe. That, and some gentle pressure on the banks to integrate or face the consequences. Econet also said in a release then that by the end of March they expected every bank that “wanted to be integrated” to be hooked to the EcoCash platform.
End of March came and no integration announcements were made. Because there were none to make. In fact end of April came and now the end of May has. No bank “wants to be integrated” apparently. At least probably not on the proposed terms. Out of the 20 plus banks in Zimbabwe (building societies too) only five banks have integrated. Four, if we don’t count TN Bank which clearly didn’t need any convincing.
So the gentle threats are turning into action. Econet is going after the bankers’ customers like they promised they would back in February. An EcoCash advert in the local newspapers this week which is directed at bank customers says it succinctly: “Move over to banks that are connected to EcoCash“. There, the ad says, Zimbabweans will enjoy real mobile convenience.