Unboxing the value of the Telecash Gold Card

Nigel Gambanga Avatar


Yesterday Telecel Zimbabwe launched a debit card for their mobile money users called the TeleCash Gold Card.This product had been in the pipeline for a while now, with Telecel having given some information on the card and what it would mean for subscribers at the launch of Telecash some months ago.

While the launch itself might not have fully expressed the potential impact of this product, the Telecash Gold Card is a huge leap in mobile money services locally.

Its value to financial services through mobile commerce is something that will sooner or later lead the other MNOs to emulate it. This of course will depend on thawed relations between guys like Econet and local bankers.

Looking at the Gold Card its greatest strength is undeniably the convenience it will create for retail payments made through mobile money. Anyone who has made a payment at retail outlet till points, or stood behind someone doing so, will tell you how the payment process involving USSD codes can make a grocery run last longer than it should. These frustrations are the reason behind the rise of mobile money apps like ZimCodes.

These apps are a great convenience no doubt, but a limited reach hampered by a limited smartphone penetration and local Android market share means the majority of mobile money users still have to key in USSD codes just to pay a merchant.

The Gold Card is bringing the simplicity of swiped payments to mobile money where the majority of Zimbabweans experience “formal” banking services. TeleCash’s subscriber total of 600,000 (sign ups for the first 5 months of trading by the way) is more than half of all formal bank accounts which numbered 853,000 a few months ago. This is a representation of how many people will benefit from added services to their mobile money wallet that acts as their account.

With the one product these guys are bringing some of the functionality of formal banking to m-commerce. While TeleCash’s competitors have had solutions that try to do the same thing (kudos to Textacash for ZimSwitch integration) the TeleCash effort has the advantage of digging into a huge potential market courtesy of it’s Telecel mobile communications brand.

Another Gold Card value proposition is the ability to access mobile money via all ZimSwitch ready ATMs. This spares a subscriber the challenge of hunting for a point to redeem money in their wallet and gives TeleCash an edge in their perennial scramble for more agents.

If what Telecel has promised to deliver with this card in the near future is anything to go by, this product is going to have an even bigger impact on the market. The attempt at remittance services that Telecel is keen on channeling through TeleCash will turn the card into another tool for the redemption of diasporan inflows.

The Gold Card service that most people are keen on, particularly the unbanked, will be enabled international payment facilities through VISA and MasterCard that the Telecel representatives said they were negotiating for right now.

Despite the string of complexities that come with inking such a deal,(RBZ regulation on externalisation of forex through mobile money is a big obstacle here) if Telecel pulls it off TeleCash it will have leapfrogged local banking services and mobile money providers.

In any case the new TeleCash debit card is worth its weight in Gold.




  1. Analyst

    Does this card support vPayments?

  2. akmartz

    This is an innovative card from TeleCash, which distinguishes it from any other mobile money platform.
    I got my TeleCash Gold Card yesterday, and i went to OK, TM and SPAR to buy groceries etc with the Gold Card and the experience was seamless and awesome.
    To add to this, i tried a purchase with cash-back transaction on the POS Devices in the retail shops and got cash straight from the teller.
    Effectively this is a game changer by TeleCash as it means i dont have to necessarily visit an Agent to get cash out of the mobile wallet.
    To test further on how innovative this TeleCash Gold Card is, i went to several ATMs :- NMB, BancABC, CBZ, CABS to widthdraw cash and the experience was seamless.
    The good thing about this is one can even go to an ATM at any given time of the day , even at 2am to draw funds.
    Well done to TeleCash, these are the benefits of being interoperable and innovative ontop of the value that TeleCash is already giving us, their tarrifs are very low
    and affordable.

    1. Anonymous

      Cheap marketing, if you had given one example it would have been more believable…

      1. akmartz

        @Anonymous , Get the Gold Card and try for yourself

      2. tinm@n

        Yeah, he/she is obviously an overenthusiastic promoter who doesnt know how to sound believable.

        That said, its still a game changer in the mobile/payment space

      3. Mhof

        True anonymous, the gentleman had cash to spend hey, going to buy groceries from OK, then again from TM, then again from SPAR (knowing how Zimswitch charges), and then further to draw cash from SEVERAL ATMs (manga mune marii mu wallet umo), and then still had $ to do a cash-out, all in the name of testing a new, just-released product!! kkkkkk

    2. Chigwa

      Tapinda tapinda… kwasara ma mobile apps

  3. Chigwa

    Telecash kwakumberi… Hope you are also working on android and iOS apps to go with that as well, taneta kuvhairirwa nema buddies.

  4. fourwallsinaroom

    The most important thing for me @nigel is what is the cost of using this card, vs mobile moola, textacash and other products that do mobile money with a card attached. I agree this is a nice way of doing things and I am going to get my card with any luck tomorrow. Then we have the likes of cellcard, which can send and receive using USSD on telecel so what is the comparison there? Hopefully there will be comprehensive details soon.

  5. akmartz

    The fact that this is unbelievable to you in the first place is the reason why I am enthusiastic about this Gold Card because I was also not believing at first when i heard about all the features that comes with it and as I spent a good part of my day trying it out at the retail shops and ATMs that’s when I saw the power of this card and this turned my perception to reality. Being a technology person that enjoys simplicity and innovation, this is a must try for anyone.

  6. Anonymous

    Just tries the Telecash card and its awesome ….

    1. Anonymous

      I just tried the card and its awesome…

      1. Anonymous

        I don’t know which Anonymous you are, perhaps its the cheap marketer who tried to reply himself as Anonymous, again – Cheap Marketing….

  7. I like Innovation

    Welldone Telecash for bringing real solutions to real challenges that the market is facing!!! Indeed this is a FIRST in the mobile money space!!! This certainly creates many ways of accessing funds in one’s wallet. i have just done a purchase with cashback at TM Supermarket & i had a good experience.

    I liked it when you highlighted that you have plans to integrate with the likes of Visa and MasterCard which I believe will come in handy for the cross borders.

    You might have come second in the mobile money space in Zimbabwe but the innovations that you are introducing will leave a mark if sustained.

    Panenge pagonekwa bvumaiwo TeleCash Gold Card kwave kumberi, Well done to the Telecel!!!!

    I Like Innovation!!!!

  8. fourwallsinaroom

    ummm.. just wondering does this work online (locally i.e. vpayments etc) A card with no expiration and possibly no CVV2 number at the back?

    Only protection is PIN?

    1. Adam@ZSS

      Hi Techzim readers

      just to answer one of the questions abov
      e – the card can be associated to a V-payments account for online shopping @ http://www.vpayments.co.zw

  9. fourwallsinaroom

    Oh and remember once upon a time techzim showed an image of mastercard and ecocash? http://www.techzim.co.zw/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/ecocash-mastercard-ecommerce.png I bet ecocash is going to drop a bomb any second now with virtual mastercard for single / multiple use. Check paypal’s virtual mastercard!

  10. Kungurirai

    Ko macharges akamira sei (what is the charges structure)

    1. Cutting Edge

      Follow this link to get the charges they are right at the bottom of the page http://www.telecel.co.zw/tariffs

  11. Evans

    There is one thing which I am not getting here. Remember the informal people who ordinarily cant open bank account due to some requirements like payslip, proof of residence etc…Are you telling me that we can now just have a Telecel card and enjoy banking services withdrawing money form the ATMs, shopping with a card? And RBZ and banks are OK with that?

  12. yuse

    can this so called game changer of yours verify a paypal acc

  13. Bla Giant

    Card iri rinoita kulinker ne pay pal here

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