EXCLUSIVE – How to use MasterCard with Telecash

Here's how to use MasterCard with telecash in Zimbabwe
Here’s how to use MasterCard with Telecash in Zimbabwe

For those of you who are avid online buyers, here’s a hack that will allow you to use your MasterCard with Telecash.

This solution has been available ever since Telecash launched in Zimbabwe and has been possible because of their “interoperability”. Enjoy!!! (You can thank me later)

What you will need to use MasterCard with Telecash

  1. A cellphone that can run USSD sessions
  2. A Telecel SIM card
  3. A Telecash account
  4. An FBC bank account

So here’s how it will work; Register your Telecel SIM card (as POTRAZ have become heavy on that) and do the necessary Telecash registration as well. You will then need to open yourself a FBC bank account. (This will not work with their prepaid card representatives at the bank have told me, you will see why shortly)


Once you have the bank account be sure to ask them to give you an account that comes with a MasterCard.(Oh, and apply for the MasterCard as well)

Right, now that you have all that done, here’s the major key point that makes this happen: Telecash has interoperability with FBC through their links to ZimSwitch. This effectively means that you can push cash to Telecash from selected banks and you can also push cash to these same banks through your mobile wallet as well.

Visit any Telecash agent and deposit funds into your account – it’s FREE. (That’s if you’re like me and seldom keep your account funded)

On your Telecash menu (*888#) select option 6. Banking Services, then 1. ZIPIT-Wallet to bank. Select 5. FBC Bank, then enter Account Number (this is your FBC bank account number) and then enter Amount that you would like to fund your FBC account withyour PIN number and confirm the transaction.

There is a small transaction fee (should be the same as what it costs you to cash out with Telecash) but this gives you the ability to deposit funds anywhere (well, at least where there is a Telecash agent) and anytime. (OK, not 24/7 but within the time frame of your agent – would be great if our ATM’s allowed us to deposit funds, a lot like what happens in other countries)

Once the funds are in your FBC account, you can now use the MasterCard that FBC issued you to transact online. You can even link it to your PayPal account and access a whole lot of services.

The draw back on such a service, is that FBC has a monthly service fee ($5 “at the time of going to press”) on their bank accounts. I know, I know, they fail to get it, but that’s why they didn’t make me the Head of Operations, right?

There is also the charge to move money from Telecash to the bank account, though like cashing out there is still a cost to it. Every penny counts you know. If you already have a need for a bank account (perhaps you have your salary going through it) or better yet, it’s an FBC account, then why not try out this hack and be able to use your Telecash account to “essentially” transact through MasterCard?

With this solution having been available since the birth of Telecash, we wonder what has kept both parties from sharing such great news to us techies and wannabe startups? Me thinks perhaps it is because of the relationship that Telecel has with each of the banks and can not be seen to be promoting any one service from the banks over another.

FBC might also be holding out to hopefully integrate with Ecocash one day. Do you foresee yourself using connecting your MasterCard with Telecash? How can it be improved by either provider to make it better for you?

Disclosure: The writer consults for Telecel Zimbabwe and the views expressed here are solely his and not of any company or of TechZim’s

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