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Econet Wireless Zimbabwe prepares to launch EcoCash merchant services

EcoCash Mobile Money

EcoCash Mobile MoneyEconet has started an advertising campaign for the introduction of merchant services on the EcoCash mobile money transfer system. The adverts, which started appearance recently in Zimbabwe’s newspapers, indicate that the additional services will be launched very soon.

Here’s some of text appearing in the adverts:

Very soon you’ll be able to:

Pay your kombi fare from your phone, buy your groceries, settle your bills, receive your salary & do a whole lot more from your EcoCash wallet.

Launched in September last year, so far only cash transfers to other individuals, and airtime purchases were possible on the platform. Merchant services, while visible on EcoCash mobile phone menus, were not available to subscribers (well, except those in test groups).

The merchant services are expected to be the much sought after solution to the change problem which has been an issue in the country since Zimbabwe suspended its own currency more than two years ago in favour a multi-currency regime dominated by two major currencies; the US Dollar and South African Rand.  Shoppers and commuters have been forced to spend on items like sweets, cigarettes and chocolates and other such small items to round off payments to the nearest dollar as change in cents has been scarce.

There’s no doubt therefore that commuters will welcome a means to pay for their Kombi (Zim’s term for minibus) fare using EcoCash. Kombi owners may also welcome this new solution to make their kombi crews more accountable for the monies paid to them by commuters. But the solution (for the kombi owners and passengers) will likely create a problem for the kombi crew who generally benefit from the current lack of change and accountability system.

Econet has reported that EcoCash has surpassed expectations in terms of uptake. In March, the company reported that the service had registered more than 1 million users less than 6 months after launch. We observed a growth trend of about 200,000 users a month from tweets made by an authoritative source the last month. Competing mobile banking products on the market include ZimSwitch’s  ZimSwitch Mobile, Tetrad’s Emali, Kingdom’s Cellcard and NetOne’s OneWallet.


Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

15 thoughts on “Econet Wireless Zimbabwe prepares to launch EcoCash merchant services

  1. this is a great innovation to curb the issue of change but i have my reservations…

    1. We will see about that. Over the past many months I had some experiences. What iu can tell you for sure is that here in zimbabwe there is a huge fear that you “devs” know anything or what they are doing and there is a huge fear about what your mistakes will cost them. There is a unfounded fear that maybe you will siphon money or something if you connect via APIs. You would need to be really big to do that in Zimbabwe (but i am not saying dont try to). eTranzact has APIs but not the clout of Econet. It is not ubiquitous. Telecel was easily accepted by banks for its skwama project because of its brand and size, try going to a bank with its own mobile product and see what happens. i did that, and I laugh at what happened and what i was told. With APIs, i doubt they will let em rip. They will give them to you on a case by case basis, and depending on what you have, are, and size of business you expect to do and are currently doing. Easier for Zesa for example because of its size. if you are a small to medium scale enterprise, you will just have to do it the manual Kombis way.

      1. I have to agree with you Prosper. Problem is local devs are loudmouths. They brag that they know-all and when time comes to show their skill they fail and i won’t blame the big guys for not believing in us.
        By the way, i’m not just saying. I’m actively employed in the developemnt industry and i’ve been involved with devs from telecoms operators and banks. just recently a local bank corrupted 25% of its database. Enough said.

  2. econet are jus mere loosers guys
    i thot smartpay has already done tht
    nw they jus follow others
    telecel introduced teletunes and they following
    smartpay introduce cashless society they follow

    i thot they are the leaders
    they are lackin smewer

  3. I suppose we will now see whether the promised TN online store will have anything revolutionary. naturally they will just accept Ecocash. Even if they are linked by APIs, wont say much.

  4. I believe this is a great development. I’m keeping my fingers crossed hoping they open up APIs to encourage customization and further development around this innovative system.

  5. Its all up to u e dev to make a name for yo self. Make cv wit open projects or free ware. Like me am a script kid all i do is debug software at the moment am work on facebook how to unblock yo self if sameone blocks you . Now writting the report. Its funny most zim dev wont allow u to do dat to there security holes. Dont wait 4 same1 to came up wit a solution to yo prob u b e solution. I for 1 knw the was same techno stuff lacking at tz so i started my own blog 4 dat gap (TBA) HAPPY PPLE

  6. this has the potential to shake up zimbabwe internet economy, ict entrepreneurs on your mark-ready–go. great opportunity for developing indeginious ict products and services for the zimbabwean market.

  7. Out of curiosity, is anyone in zim doing anything with near field communication tech? It seems like a viable way of handling some of these functions/services.

  8. The mobile phone is a truly work of invention device. It comes in just as handy use as easily when we need to communicate about the serious things in life.Online money transfer is a good source of mobile money.

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