Last week, Barclays announced a money transfer service called Cashsend that lets the bank’s customers with debit cards send money to anyone in Zimbabwe via an ATM. The service is one of the most innovative to come out of a bank in Zimbabwe and rivals other money transfer services on the market like EcoCash, Western Union and TextaCash.
According to the company’s adverts in the press, to send money, a customer just needs to select the appropriate ATM menu, send it through and then communicate a voucher and PIN to the recipient. The recipient then visits any Barclays ATM and makes the withdrawal and they don’t need to be a Barclays customer or to have a bank card to do this.
The huge convenience of Cashsend is that sending the money doesn’t require one to go into a Barclays branch, which means they can do it outside of banking hours. The limitation we can notice is that the recipient can only withdraw money at Barclays ATMs. There’s only 45 of them in Zimbabwe! And since this is an ATM technology/service, expansion is by way of more ATMs which may be more resource intensive than the agent model that mobile operators use for mobile money.
It would also be great if sending money could also be done via the web so that senders don’t have to find an ATM at odd hours. Another issues is that we’re not sure how secure sending a PIN and Voucher ID manually (over SMS, phone call, email etc..) is. What if it gets into the wrong hands?
The launch of the service last week came along with the launch of Hello Money, a mobile banking application. Previously, Hello Money was reported to be a Smartphone application but the announcement last week makes it clear it can work on any phone, presumably via USSD. But, unlike smartphone and web apps, USSD has its network level permission issues and so far, the announcement says, Hello Money is only available on the Econet and Telecel networks.
The service is part of the effort by banks to win back the money transfer business they have lost mostly to Econet whose EcoCash mobile money transfer service has had a massive adoption since launch almost years ago. Before EcoCash money transfer transactions were done via bank deposits and withdrawals, which meant both parties had to have bank accounts, or at least know someone who had. Some transactions were also done through the Zimpost post office ‘telegram’ service.
Here’s a PDF document of a Barclays brochure with details of how it works.