Today we attended the launch of EcoCash Payroll, the product we wrote about here in Monday. The purpose of the event was really to have the journalist writing more about EcoCash Payroll as, events like the cash-in-transit robbery, have shown that not enough companies know about the product.
In terms of how the product works there are basically ways: Offline ad Online. The offline option allows small to medium size companies to essentially send an offline line copy of their payroll schedule to Econet, Fund their EcoCash Salaries wallet, and have the Econet staff process the payroll for them. The online on the other hand allows companies (larger ones that have the infrastructure to connect to Econet securely) to use an online platform to process the payroll on their own
The service, according to EcoCash CEO Cuthbert Tembedza, is free for both the companies to pay and the employees to receive money. The point according to make it as easy as possible for money to flow in into the EcoCash as they can make their money when people spend the money – transfers, bill payments, shopping etc….
Apart from the cash-in-transit security problems and costs, Tembedza said another problem EcoCash Payroll solves is that people earning wages below a certain threshold were not served by the regular banks in terms of the salaries being paid into a bank account. EcoCash Payroll therefore also extends inclusion into formal financial systems this way.
Illustrating the extent of the costs of salary cash Tembedza gave the example of an estate they visited in the Zimbabwean Lowveld. The estate, he said, uses a helicopter to fly cash in as 4,600 of its 5,000 people workforce, do not have bank accounts. On the actual day of the salary payments Tembedza said the estate loses half a whole day of work to the process of workers queuing for salaries.
Tembedza also revealed a list of companies already using EcoCash Payroll which include CIMAS, City Councils, Nemchem, National Parks, Food Aid Organisation (FAO) and Windmill.