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Hand2Hand enables global (South Africa) credit card remittances to EcoCash wallets?

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hand2handYou may have noticed increased visibility of a money remittance service called Hand2Hand. They are interesting in a couple of ways but mainly that they got access to what so far we thought was only accorded to WorldRemit only – they are able to send money directly from global credit cards via a website to EcoCash mobile wallets.

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So, in short, Hand2Hand, a Zimbabwean registered forex company, enables anyone anywhere in the world to transfer money to an EcoCash Wallet, and Zimbabwean bank accounts through their website. The “anywhere in the world” part is exactly as Hand2Hand puts it, which is interesting in that so far we thought there were some regulatory issues that are preventing WorldRemit from activating the South Africa – Zimbabwe channel.

Hand2Hand being able to send money from South Africa to Zimbabwe is a big deal because there’s a lot of money flowing already between the two countries either via such methods as bus drivers, truck drivers, FNB, Western Union, Moneygram, Mukuru etc… It has been estimated that the 1.9 million Zimbabweans living and working in South Africa send an average R6.7 billion (about US $620 million) a year to Zimbabwe. Match that with EcoCash’s 4 million subscribers in Zimbabwe and you have potential for a very healthy business.

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The reality however that may make Hand2Hand’s business not as big as the potential suggests is the limited number of migrants in South Africa than have access to credit cards. We may ofcourse be wrong but we imagine there are many Zimbabweans in South Africa that have no access to credit cards, most of whom are in South Africa illegally. Making it as easy as possible for such people to transact is something Mukuru has understood more than their competitors.

That aside, in terms of rates, Hand2Hand charges 6.5% but a minimum of USD $3.50. In short if you are transferring less than $50 then you are paying significantly more than the 6.5%. The less you transfer the more you pay.  In terms of comparison to the competition, WorldRemit said they charge about 5% for a similar transfer to a mobile wallet. Western Union, for a normal brick and mortar branch pick up, charge about 10%. Mukuru also charges 10% flat for all transactions whether destined for Telecash, Textacash or brick & mortar. Please note however that if you decide to use Hand2Hand, like all other services allowing you to send money from your credit card, there’s the credit card transaction fee and the mobile wallet withdrawal fee to add to the remittance service’s fee.

That said Hand2Hand is currently the only way to send cash from a credit card directly into an EcoCash mobile wallet from South Africa so the competition is not really direct competition. Yet.

As for transfers to other mobile network wallets (Telecash and OneWallet) please do note that even though Hand2Hand advertises as though this is possible, when we signed up for the service, only transfers to EcoCash mobile wallets and to regular bank accounts were possible.

The other interesting thing about Hand2Hand is a Multi-Level Marketing component to remittances that they have. Essentially, you get a cut of the commission Hand2Hand charges if you get someone else to sign up and use the service. Like other MLM services, Hand2Hand promises that if you take the job of recruiting other users seriously enough, there’s an opportunity to make big bucks. In the thousands a month!

We noticed searching the internet for information about Hand2Hand that their history stretches back to 2002 when they launched “a Web-based International Money Transfers Service“. They saw the future a long time ago!

Here’s a video about the service:


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16 thoughts on “Hand2Hand enables global (South Africa) credit card remittances to EcoCash wallets?

  1. well tried it today. my thinking was this might be the solution to sending from visa/master directly to wallet without visiting an agent in zimbabwe. i can safely say fbc failed. stanchart posted the transaction as a hold but didnt it let it go all the way through.

      1. LSM the hold fell away i am assuming at midnight tonight. Trying to get hold of banking services to find out what the story is. On another note has anyone noticed that FBC debit master will not work on Steward POS?

  2. There are clear regulation violations here:
    Are they licensed in South Africa (it is illegal to operate a money transfer business online or otherwise if you are not licensed)? are they licensed in USA (a bigger crime there including jail time), Are they licensed in Australia, Canada, etc. Mukuru & Worldremit have done a good job of being clear about their licensing and including that information on their websites. These guys are taking innovation backwards by cutting corners, soon Regulators in UK, USA, Canada, Australia etc will not look favorably at companies with a Zimbabwean connection that are seeking licensing. Operating in international financial markets without a license is not only unprofessional, its illegal, its a risk to the market and undermines innovations being done by great developers and entrepreneurs in Zim and in the Diaspora

    1. that was a concern when we went through this but figured maybe they did license. How however they are able to get all that licensing when strong VC backed companies like WorldRemit are moving much slower makes you wonder…

  3. Your article worries me a bit in that it seems very one sided with little intention to balance your research. If In didn’t know better I would suggest that you are writing this to prop up WorldRemit. I’ve never used any of the services but I would assume that it would be good journalistic principle to contact Hand2Hand and ask them a lot of the questions that are just conjecture in your article. There doesn’t seem to have been an attempt or intention to do so. It would make a more balanced article for us, your readers. You seem to assume that if WorldRemit lacks the ability to get their act together then noone else can which in my view is prejudicial of all Zimbabweans. I think we would like to see more balance. Contact Hand2Hand and let us know if they are licensed in the US, UK or Canada, lets not guess. Contact them and ask them how they could get licenses or technical abilities that WorldRemit can’t and let us know. Until then, your article is one sided. If they have their act together, give them the opportunity to express that because the way i see it, if they do, its a great product.

    1. @ Concerned
      On average I find Techzim to be fair, they ask the right questions and try to get meaningful answers to us readers despite well funded stone-walling and high street showmanship from the likes of Econet (still waiting for the Public API). I think this Hand2Hand issue is one of those that fell through the cracks. Techzim could have simply checked on the FCA UK site to see if the company was registered in the UK for example. Sometimes companies do have licensing arrangements with other entities, this could have been uncovered by talking to Hand2Hand directly. So I agree with you that at a minimum they should have spoken to hand2Hand. However Hand2Hand has a legal and moral obligation to good corporate citizenship, and that begins with following the laws and regulations, respecting your customers (giving customer accurate information), and honoring the developer and entrepreneur spirit by providing real solutions under the prevailing compliance environment (not cutting corners). That is what will help to move us forward because we need more legitimate success stories, Like Paynow, Mukuru, Ecocash, CSI, Gikko etc to motivate developers to come up with better solutions for the current challenges in our economy

    2. thanks. No, we haven’t contacted the Hand2Hand guys yet. The article is all based on what we saw and decided to share with readers. We look forward to speaking to them and updating our readers accordingly. If you have the direct contacts of someone that can provide comment on these issues, please do send to kabweza@techzim.co.zw

      To us the story is a process and not an event we build up to and get everything. Even if we tried, there’s no getting everything. it is indeed standard practice for journalists to get all subjects to comment, and we respect that. it’s just different from how we work.

      On being biased for WorldRemit, I’m struggling to find how you came to that conclusion. But the simple answer is that we sincerely have no reason whatsoever to promote them.

  4. Maybe I could be wrong but here is how I see it. These guys say they are registered in Zimbabwe as a bureau de change. If they are complying with Zimbabwean laws then there is nothing to worry. If you are operating online you only need to comply with the laws of where you are operating from and where your site is hosted. It doesn’t matter where you get your clients from. In this case these guys have physical Zimbabwean addresses and the site has New beginnings Web and Marketing Solutions as the registrant and these are in SA. If problems arise they can just move their site from where it is hosted either SA or USA ( not knowledgeable in interpreting whois records ) From other countries it might look as a merchant service since the money is going one way. And it’s not a crime to have your card debited by a merchant, or to debit a client ,in any part of the world.

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