EcoCash officially launches NFC enabled debit card

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After months of trials, the NFC (Near Field Communication) enabled debit card from EcoCash has finally been launched. Econet officially unveiled it to the public with a live demo of the product at the ongoing Econet “Beyond The Phone” Expo.

The product, officially known as the EcoCash Express Debit Card, or simply as the Tap and Go card, falls under EcoCash and won’t be a Steward bank product only (as we incorrectly assumed). Available to all EcoCash subscribers, it offers holders the convenience of payment at till points simply by tapping against the Point of Sale machine, after which payment will be recognised.

For transactions valued under $5 and up to a daily limit of $100, a cardholder no longer has to enter a PIN number on a Point of Sale terminal. Money can be moved from a bank account into the card, and it supports international payments as it is a MasterCard in its own right.

According to the information shared by Econet on the card, users can buy goods for as little as 10 cents using the card and the Tap and Pay service can be accessed from several outlets across the country that include retailers like TM, OK, SPAR supermarkets and Innscor outlets.

Outside Zimbabwe, it can be used at any point that handles contactless payments for any product under the MasterCard banner. No service charges have been attached to the new card, something that offers an advantage which EcoCash has been quick to highlight, along with the fact that this is the first visible use of NFC payments locally.

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However, the biggest point of difference that this card seems to possess comes from its EcoCash DNA. This means that while the technology might be replicated in the short to medium term, Ecocash will maintain an edge with a wide spread of EcoCash ready Point of Sales. According to EcoCash, these are 50% of all the POS terminals in Zimbabwe.

Whoever aims to follow through on contactless payments like other mobile money services or even device distributors (let’s imagine/fantasize Apple or Samsung have an interest at some point) would have to figure out that one dynamic, which leaves entities with alternatives  that might include roping in Zimswitch to help solve that challenge or coming up with a better alternative altogether.

We haven’t used the EcoCash Express Debit Card, but we’d love to get your own thoughts on the service if you’ve had a feel of it already. 

15 Comments

  1. macd chip says:

    “…which leaves entities with alternatives that might include roping in Zimswitch..”

    I do not see zimswitch offering any competitiveness to whoever wants to use their there platform to counter Econet, they short themselves on the foot whilst they still want to walk. Very soon they will be crying monopoly through their proxies!

    Flashback: http://www.techzim.co.zw/2014/09/zimswitch-atm-cash-withdrawal-charges-increased/

    How do you price yourself for profit against a free product. This is the one of the reasons why Zimswitch fought hard to heavy ecocash under their armpit, greedy lot(not saying econet is angel)

  2. John says:

    Competition is good, I’m not particularly a fan of econet but i do feel Zimswitch needs to taste the bitter result of increasing its charges. hopefully this move will wake them up

    1. macd chip says:

      lm not a fan of econet as well but they seem to be the only telco company not crying about sanctions, adapting to environment and getting their hands dirty.

  3. Nikki Kershaw (@MsFuzzyhead) says:

    I used it at Pick n Pay, it worked well. However, I didn’t initially realise the $5 limit was inclusive of tarrif (rookie error) but it worked after I figured it out and reduced my spend.

    1. macd chip says:

      how much were the charges?

      1. Nikki Kershaw (@MsFuzzyhead) says:

        Hi Macd Chip – the tariffs are the same as the regular Debit Card POS charges (here – https://www.econet.co.zw/save/debit_card.html) but have asked them to clarify if this is included in the $5 contactless limit. Will update once I have a response.

    2. fourwallsinaroom says:

      How much is the card?

  4. Noah says:

    This looks like a good move how can we have this card while we ar working in south africa capetown we are very intrested do u have agents here, contact me on

  5. Tawanda says:

    If this card does not do online purchases then its still way off the mark.

    1. fourwallsinaroom says:

      Ecocash debit does online payments no problem. You generate a virtual number I used mine to book a hotel stay recently on http://www.ihg.com

      1. Emmanuel says:

        Does the virtual number expire ?

  6. Mhofu says:

    This card works well, tried it at KFC and the transaction is quite fast. I think it dramatically reduced the time you spend on till points.
    What i liked more is that if the transaction is more than $5 you can still do a chip and Pin which works just fine.
    Hate them or Love them, this is a game changer.

  7. VengieMads says:

    Thats nice,hw it works when yu are abroad.

  8. Ten says:

    what if someone steals my card, does that mean they can do what they want with my card? since there is no pin

    1. Dobba Don says:

      yes they can do transactions less than $5 but u will get notifications on your fone and u can disable the card.

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