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Econet introduces EcoCash Debit Card, a mobile phone to POS payment solution

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Ecocash MasterCard, Master Card

Earlier in the day we learnt and posted that Econet would launching a mobile phone to POS payment solution tonight. We’re just from the event, and most of the information we had is what was announced tonight. The company is introducing its own POS terminals to accept payments from EcoCash mobile wallets. The products is called EcoCash Debit Card.

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The event today was attended by Zim Deputy Prime Minister, Aurthur Mtambara and the acting Reserve Bank governor, who was guest of honor. Delivering the keynote speech, the acting RBZ governor said as regulators they encouraging EcoCash “to continue to work towards inter-operability in the economy.” The acting governor also said they were happy the POS infrastructure to be deployed by Econet will be open to other payment providers. She also said she was thankful to Econet for “contributing immensely to building of a modern payment system in the country”

The product demo was done by EcoCash CEO, Cuthbert Tembedza as well as Econet Services CEO, Darlington Mandivenga.

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Here are some quick facts we gathered at the launch:

  • The POS terminal basically replaces a merchant mobile phone and sits at the till point like other ordinary bank powered POS terminals. Unlike a mobile phone though, the POS terminal prints a receipt when payment is made. Communication between phone and terminal is therefore enabled through USSD.
  • Econet has invested into 10,000 POS terminals in total so far. They didn’t say more however on exactly how many of these have been deployed only referring to thousands nationwide.
  • The EcoCash POS terminals will also accept VISA and MasterCard cards. Econet Services CEO, Darlington Mandivenga said that banks that the EcoCash terminals will also accepts cards issued by local banks that are partnering with EcoCash. Those that have integrated with EcoCash (for EcoCash mobile banking) will will have first mover advantage he said.
  • The terminals also have the Near Field Communication (NFC) and though not enabled now, will be available to use in the future as the technology’s availbility on mobile phones increases. The POS terminals are supplied to Econet by TPSI a London based subsidiary of Econet.
  • Mandivenga also said at the launch that their product (mobile phone to POS device via USSD) was the first such implementation in the world and that they had beat the known leader in Africa’s mobile money industry, M-PESA. “They are still thinking about it, we’ve launched” said Mandivenga in reference to M-PESA.
  • The development means that over 2 million Zimbabweans (EcoCash subscribers that is) now have access to debit card kind of services.

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23 thoughts on “Econet introduces EcoCash Debit Card, a mobile phone to POS payment solution

  1. From a tech point of view its excellent news, but the question remains…..will people still have to pay an extra fee for buying their groceries when they can just use cash?

  2. Soldier on Econet!! You kno l have love and hate relationship with you….

    I love the way you are putting our country at the techno front.

    And l hate the way you charge me and that nobody can compete headon with here in Zim.

  3. In the end this is just an SMS printer…. It just sits there to print the confirmation SMS that a merchant has been receiving on their phone. I’m waiting for true innovation. I want my ecocash account available online, I want a real plastic card integrated with my ecocash wallet that I can use on POS and ATM machines.

    1. Payments and mobile money Innovation requires certain building blocks and products. If you analyse ecocash products you can see within their the trajector of EcoCash they will provide the features and products you mention. This is a good start. At times innovation is defined as products and services that we have but use them different. Innovation is also market specific. Sme of us who are dumb wold call this innovation because we never thought of it in such a way. EcoCash online according too won’t be innovative because globally there are services similar to this. Weldon’s EcoCash we hope for more to come.

  4. econet we are looking for an online payment system in the mould of how these things work when we have credit cards.

  5. For how long are we going to stick to unstructured supplementary service data protocol?

      1. If Econet offer two choices, it’s up to the customers to choose “a” ussd “b” mobile application. I’m just anticipating a customer’s needs!

        1. I believe econet will give us another interesting product soon that satisfies your needs and also offer you the much need freedom of choice.

  6. I never thought I’d see the day where USSD would be used for (physical) checkout: this sounds slow and kludgey. Checkout has to be fast & painless.

    Dear EcoCash, here’s an idea: turn on NFC on those POS terminals, hand out NFC stickers to your clients to affix to their (dumb)phones so they can physically swipe the phone and automatically get a USSD prompt “Pay XYZ $4.20?”. That would reduce the checkout experience to a single prompt. You’re welcome.

  7. Not to be a stickler or anything, but isn’t what Econet is doing now being a bank? Short of opening up branches, they may as well be a bank. Someone should speak out on this

    1. Ok zvinorambidzwa here but wakapusa… POS is not banking it’s payments. Google banking definition and see if pos is part of it.

  8. Yada yada yada Mutambara now Econet PR lol and the same Econet gets protection from POTRAZ in doing international termination (monopoly) and the same Econet gets a waiver to bull doze into banking ? And this Amndivenga guy talking garbage.M-PESA is unrivalled and why did they grab employees from MPESSA if Ecocash was the leader ? And tell us what happened to Ecolife ? Hello EcoThieves.

  9. Ecocash is already flooded and is very slow during Peak hours. Now I wonder how well it will handle an even increased traffic with this POS thingy. We shall see longer and slower queues in the shops 🙂

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