Econet Wireless today announced that subscribers to their Ecocash Save mobile banking service have now reached 900,000. 50,000 more than subscribers to typical brick and mortar banking services in Zimbabwe combined. The announcement was made in the same release announcing that Ecocash Save will start lending cash to subscriber in early 2014.
The numbers are no doubt impressive and present real assets that Econet can leverage on in the future but there is little to celebrate in the current state if my suspicions are right. I am an EcocashSave subscriber but, like many others, my subscription has given EcocashSave zero value compared to my regular bank that I use week in week out. I imagine there are tens of thousands more who have opened the free EcocashSave accounts just to get the free SMSs that come with signing up.
Subscribers to EcocashSave open accounts free of charge and no initial deposit is required to activate the account. The question that Econet conveniently ignores is how many of their impressive 900,000 have active accounts with positive balances.
EcoCash recently launched the waya waya promo to encourage subscribers to save as little as $5 in their EcoCashSave accounts for 15 straight days. This is a clear indication that EcocashSave may have the numbers but more work still needs to be done to get deposits coming in. And then celebrate.
Quantity is good but it’s the quality that counts.