Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates


Astro working on a card based mobile payment solution called Payit

Bethel Communications called Astro because of their Astro brand of android devices is in the final stages in development of a mobile card based payment solution called Payit. The enterprise product is targeting informal traders and small businesses to enable them to accept  debit or crecit cards through their smartphones and a small card reader device plugged on the phone’s earphone jerk.

According to the Astro CEO, Munyaradzi Gwatidzo, Payit will be deployed in partnership with a local bank (undisclosed for now) and merchants will be able to accept payments from all major cards including Zimswitch, Visa and Mastercard.


Mr Munyaradzi Gwatidzo said Payit will be launched within 2 months and it will be deployed free of charge to merchants. The company is expecting to release 10000 units during the first phase of launch.

We demoed the system and here are the main features:

  • Mobile point of sale: Merchants (including vendors, informal traders, SMEs etc) can receive payments from customers with credit or debit cards.
  • Bill payments: People can pay bills by swiping their cards at any merchant using Payit
  • Airtime top up: Instead of keeping paper recharge cards, airtime vendors can sell electronic airtime to customers who have bank cards
  • Consumers have no need to “sign-up” to use Payit




There is no doubt that Payit can be a relevant solution that can appeal to informal traders and small shops. However seeing that this solution is heavily reliant on the banked population, it’s hard to see it replacing the cash based trading in the informal sector. This could be the reason why Astro will be giving away the solution for free so that merchants don’t invest in something they wont use often enough.

If Payit is able to accept all major cards used in Zimbabwe as they say it does, then it will also be useful to the major retailers who often have multiple swipe machines for the different banks or cards.

Accorinding to Munyaradzi Gwatidzo, Payit signals Astro’s change in focus from mobile devices to software solutions.

Meanwhile, Astro has been quietly supplying Powertel with mobile WiFi routers (MiFi). The Powertel-Astro mobile WiFi routers cost $45 compared to the $90 Econet-Huawei mobile WiFi device we reviewed here last year.


Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

18 thoughts on “Astro working on a card based mobile payment solution called Payit

  1. Would have loved to know the minimum specs of a smartphone that can run this solution.

  2. I love all this innovation from Zimbos. But, our designs suck, all the time. In the end, we have amateurish looking apps. Yes we are solving a problem. Yes our app does exactly what we intend it to do, but cant we pleeease put a bit more effort into the UI before you demo? Dont say agile what what, coz, the UI design would have been done before any dev.

    It doesnt matter if you copying the UI from some other app, as long as your end product looks great!

    1. Design and Management is what will make you remembered, tonnes of other people can “buy” the solution but it’s making it look good and work good that will make all the difference.

      I presume this is a similar product that made famous. It’s worked for them, if you play your cards (excuse the pun) right then you should do great!

  3. Well done Munya and team, this is the innovation we need in this country, taking into consideration our socio-economic climate. It will go a long way in supporting the SMEs doing business in the country and in 5 years you may see yourself driving big volumes!

  4. Nedbank South Africa launched this in 2013. Its called a PocketPOS. There is really nothing special about this (technically). A POS device uses you Phone internet to connect to the “host”. Add some encryption and you have a mobile POS.

    Good product for Zim, but don’t expect miracles.

  5. This card reader was developed by former Google SA CEO and is know as the Pebble.This system is being rolled out by ABSA in SA targeting mostly SME.So this is not their design.whilst l applaud innovation,this is not their invention.

  6. Good product…. but banks will have to revise what they charge when we swipe their cards on POS, I can’t swipe for a $1 airtime and have $2.50 deducted from my account.

  7. On whose phone does this transaction happen? I would not enter my card PIN on somebody else’s phone. Who knows what other software is running on the phone and what it might be capable of doing?

  8. People’s insights and participation is going to be attracted to the trending subject, developing a advertising campaign.
    You should also think about posting on websites like
    Associated Content or Hub – Pages under your name. Chaos is a state of primal emptiness which is governed by
    simple and precise laws, but where the outcome is unpredictable
    and may change greatly with slight variations in starting conditions.

  9. If you which means that tend to get a fire-starters, we’ve got to first of all deal
    with the particular heap within the stage when many of us arrange to build.
    The glare of the goblin sparks partially blinded him.
    7 million, which was less than 1% of what he was worth.

  10. I see good things coming up all it takes is to believe that you can do what any other person can do .
    Some people would like to say otherwise , the youngman has done it in his own way , there are so many other good things you can also do .
    If you can only use your head a bit more

Comments are closed.