Buying your internet bundles and airtime on the internet h as been possible for a while now. In theory. You could buy a uMax subscription here and some Africom airtime there, and ZOLspot WiFi there. But everything is on its own website and half the sites are broken half the time. So topup.co.zw is a welcome relief. Everything you need to pay for, as far as vouchers are concerned at least, on one website.
It’s built by Webdev, the company behind Paynow, so this is natural for them being a payments company.
The negative bit about Topup is it lacks the one voucher that rules them all – ZESA electricity. It’s weeks away is what we were told by Vusi Ndebele, the Ops Director at Webdev. Also coming in future is a smarpthone app. If you’re wondering how you going to topup your internet via the net when you got no net the answer to that is that the site is zero rated by the providers.
We also asked Ndebele more general stuff on why they’ve gone into electronic vouchers and how big a market they see. Here’s what he told us:
I don’t count airtime distribution itself among the major problems that need solving but this is a real example of how real-time online payments can be leveraged to improve convenience to the consumer and efficiencies for the vendor. It also ties into our upcoming Bill Payments service where most of the regular household and business billers will be available to pay from a single portal.
We launched Paynow almost a year ago so I was a little surprised that one of our enterprising local developers didn’t seize the opportunity to this themselves. We will continue to build relationships with consumers by making services more convenient to consume. Those consumer relationships have value beyond the immediate revenue opportunity. The more individuals that come into contact with online payments even through simple services like Paynow Topup, event tickets or even contributing to their church – the more businesses consider implementing something similar for the benefit of their own customers. The more businesses we attract, the more consumers we attract – it’s a virtuous cycle.
As Online Payments becomes the norm in Zim as it has become in developed countries, that’s when we see a return on our investment in Paynow.