A UK-based Bureau de Change, Chitoro, recently informed us that it has now interfaced to offer receipt of transfers in Zimbabwe via EcoCash. This isn’t a new sort of arrangement in the remittances arena. EcoCash itself has been on a drive to promote international remittances engaging partners like WorldRemit, Western Union and MasterCard. TeleCash, likewise, also partnered with Mukuru.com to receive international payments.
Who exactly is Chitoro? Well, this is an international money transfer business that allows customers to send money from a bank account, VISA or MasterCard and cash through its system. Funds sent are received via the same channels with a short space of time, and in some instances even instantly.
All this can be done online or through a walk in transfer at its agencies. Chitoro (incorporated in 2006) boasts of having beaten the banks to this convenient money transfer method which can even be used for business to business (B2B) transfers.
Worldwide person to person (P2P) payments are not that advanced and have not existed for a long time. This could be because mobile money in itself has not found as strong a use case in developed markets.
This is very different from what we have witnessed in emerging markets through services like M-PESA and similar templates like TeleCash and EcoCash. All this was because of the old arrangement for money transfers. Electronic payment systems were mainly premised on the idea of one operating a bank account and the payment system only acting as the medium for transactions.
Until recently when MasterCard launched Send, a rapid transfer channel, only services like Paypal allowed users to send money from one person to another swiftly. The traditional options available are, of course, SWIFT (RTGS locally, ACH in some countries and regions and Telegraphic Transfers internationally).
This Chitoro integration with EcoCash offers advantages to the Bureau de Change that other affiliates of mobile money-cum-diaspora solutions have provided to an industry that is being haunted by mobile integration in all facets of life. For EcoCash, though this comes after the go ahead it received from South African authorities to remit money from there, it adds another option for its Diaspora service and caters for the UK which has always been focal point for the cash services company.