Whenever we talk about the issue of paying for your ZESA prepaid electricity everyone remembers how Econet was shut out from an integration with ZESA for mobile money payment leaving One Wallet as the only option for the many people used to mobile money transactions.
Thankfully someone has worked on a solution that will give you an opportunity to buy the ZESA prepaid tokens via EcoCash and Telecash. It’s called recharge.co.zw and it’s a product from the guys behind the payment gateway Pay4App.
It seems the team has continued to distinguish itself through smart workarounds and hacks when you consider that Pay4App was the first payment gateway that circumvented the EcoCash API issue. This time they have a system that handles the ZESA prepaid electricity, Africom airtime and TelOne ADSL vouchers.
So how does recharge work?
Using the service is simple enough. All you have to do is access the website recharge.co.zw then fill in the details(name, meter number) which will direct you to the Pay4App gateway. From there its pretty much a Pay4App process that most people have now had a chance of sampling for other online services.
The minimum purchase is $5 and there’s a $50 limit. All transactions up to $25 attract a $1 charge and from $26 to $50 there’s a $2 charge. These are service fees that come with the PAy4App gateway and are not attributed to the ZESA prepaid service specifically.
How was the workaround developed?
When you approach the different super-sellers like ZB and CBZ to be your own re-seller you are given the option between having a web based seller interface which works with the swiping mechanism (think of sellers like OK), selling from a mobile wallet or through your bank account via a ZB application.
The recharge.co.zw solution wraps over ZB’s online interface to do the meter validation and the actual purchase, with Pay4App acting as gateway to the options like EcoCash, Telecash, Zimswitch and so forth.
According to Sam Takunda, the developer behind this solution and Pay4App, the prepaid electricity solution was meant to be a hack to deal with the frustrations of having to travel to a ZESA prepaid merchant or those long queues that we have to endure. As such this passion project isn’t meant generate any revenue for him.
One bug I did notice is how the system asks for an 11 digit meter number, something that inconvenienced me with my 12 digit code. I ended up dropping the last digit and managed to proceed with the transaction.
According to Takunda there is still some work being carried out on recharge.co.zw with tweaks meant to address some of the issues, like the 12 digit aspect. Right now feedback from early users is what is powering further system improvement.
What are your thoughts on this new system for purchasing prepaid electricity?