Press Release: Econet prepares launch of mobile payment system

Econet Wireless will at end of the month launch a mobile payment system that makes it possible for Zimbabweans to pay for anything using their cellphones.

The company has spent millions of dollars on developing the system, which will be launched to its over 5-million customers, completely eliminating the need for any notes for purchases below $20.

This would be done instantly between any two people who have Econet cell phones, the company said in a statement.


Econet has been working for more than a year on developing the system, which will basically turn a cell phone into a ‘wallet’.

“With critical shortage of US dollar notes, the Econet system will completely eliminate the need for any notes for purchases below $20,” a spokesman said.

It can be done instantly between any two people who have Econet cell phones.

Whilst there have been several attempts to launch similar systems on the market, the key difference of this new system from Econet is its size and capacity.

Econet has not spared any cost in building the system, and has entered into partnership with key retailers, banks, and dealers nationwide.

By the end of this month, Econet is expected to announce that it has crossed 6 million customers, which means that almost half the population has an Econet line. This virtually guarantees the success for a service like this, because it has economy of scale, the spokesman said.

“It is a massive system, and will completely transform the way Zimbabweans buy and sell goods,” he said.

Many businesses that sell small goods, like supermarkets and even newspaper vendors, can expect a dramatic increase in business because people will have the ability to make purchases, easily.

“Construction of the whole system is now complete and the company is now ready to go,” said the spokesman.

“It is currently being tested with key customers on a pilot phase, and will go live to over 5 million Econet customers by the end of this month.”

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15 thoughts on “Press Release: Econet prepares launch of mobile payment system

  1. you didnt put much infor…. we need to know how it works ie. are the customers going to use airtime cards to introduce the cash into their wallets or are they going to use their bank accounts? also how does one redeem his/her sales into real cash ?

  2. Mobile banking in Africa is mainly for prepaid payments (airtime or electricity payments). Remittances might be another revenue stream but legislation is usually the challenge. Lets see if the econet customer base translates to successful mobile banking application. In SA MTN Banking is used by a very small percentage of people yet MTN has more than 15 million users. Lets hope people will trust this system and it will be secure. Once hackers and sim clone artist access these mobile banking applications there can be a lot of challenges here. I also hope the call centre facility for econet is well trianed to manage the queries of potential mobile banking users becoz when someone has problems with their money they are usually not happy people.

  3. The Banks are virtually sleeping except for FBC. they also need to revamp their payment system to be global to complement paperless money environment by Network providers. only too happy to report that they have made so so profit nxa

    1. FBC is doing a fantastic job. You are right the banks are sleeping especially in terms of IT. Kudo’s to FBC’s credit card system. However, they need to work at improving their slow customer service especially at the Nelson Mandela branch. The managers just look on instead of getting their hands dirty with helping out their customer service representatives – which is typical of Zimbabwean management. In America, they would be fired on the spot.

  4. Yeah right macdchip!!! Anyway, congrats to Econet for  such an achievement. It will certainly give an extra option in our local payment system, which is still far from bn dominated by electronic platforms.

    1. Most likely SMS…I’m willing to bet on that 🙂

      2 features on my wish-list for Econet (which will probably never happen):
      1. Internet-payments (remove restriction to intra-econet, maybe a nice API too)
      2. Paypal/Visa/Mastercard/Bank inter-op.

  5. Most probably sms with codes being assigned to the value being transferred between or among subscribers. @ the end of the transction chain, someone can then remit the code or credit at an outlet or bank (Most likely TN bank) for cash

  6. this is wat we need.well dne econet.hope this service will be cheap and efficient. hope it will be as good as safaricom’s m-pesa. if they have the masses at heart this will see us paying kombi fares, buying tomatos in the streets and paying for our beers through this service…..cant wait to see wats in stock

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