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EcoCash NFC card surfaces as new product – update

EcoCash Tap & Go, NFC

Almost a year ago we covered an EcoCash NFC (Near Field Communication) card payment system which was undergoing a test run in parts of Harare. Instead of swiping at a point of sale, the “Tap And Go” debit card which is linked to a user’s EcoCash wallet, enables transactions through the tapping of the card against a merchant’s device.

The card has now resurfaced and will be introduced by Steward Bank, the financial institution wholly owned by Econet Zimbabwe. Selected Steward Bank account holders have received communication via SMS, notifying them that they have been chosen to receive a contactless debit card which they can collect at their nearest branch.

Frequent users of the EcoCash Debit Card were the ones chosen to be the first recipients of the contactless card, though an inquiry with the Steward Bank team directed us to any of their branches if we hadn’t been selected but were keen on signing up for the NFC Card.

According to information provided by Steward Bank, the card is meant to complement existing debit cards and will be active at every merchant that has the requisite technology.

If the conditions used for the pilot phase stay the same, the transaction costs carried by the card are the same as EcoCash merchant tariffs. A user’s EcoWallet PIN acts as the security measure though minor transactions for $3 or less can be completed with just the tap and no PIN entry.

The pilot phase roped in some public transporter operators, so it will be interesting to see of kombis are included in the contactless card scheme once it has been officially launched to the greater public.

Such an arrangement was adopted in Kenya using a system called the Beba Pay card that was designed in collaboration with Google and it was applauded as a way fo adding convenience to public transportation and accountability of revenue in that space.

Update – The EcoCash Express Debit Card has been launched, but it is not a Steward Bank product only. As with other EcoCash products, Steward Bank will be directly involved with its distribution, but it is not aligned with the bank only.

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14 thoughts on “EcoCash NFC card surfaces as new product – update

  1. hmm interesting i received an sms from ecocash. mine stated that i would be contacted to arrange shipping.

  2. Me too. I was told they would call me, my card has been linked but it is awaiting shipment.

  3. This will come in handy in public transport! lets see if gvt wont throw a spanner in the works

  4. Think twice before you rush to use these cards, because anyone remotely with a wireless device that supports NFC can steal your card information.

    1. mmm that not even 25% right….the card needs to come into close proximity with a card reader for it to be read, also i saw the card its chip and this kind of technology is not as easily “clonable”as you allege.
      Chip cards are the safest cards in the market right now if you know payments systems.

      1. actually he is right nfc enabled cards are not really that safe as the banks would like you to think. the fact that the card jus need to be in proximity with a merchant device is sure sign of its vulnerability

        its even easier to make clones of such cards. and yes I do know payment systems

        jus dont believe every thing the back will tell u

        1. oh please they are super safe that proximity you are talking about is very small you have to almost be touching the device with the card for that proximity to click.
          and ok its not that easy to make a clone but lets say someone does do that and starts using your card, you can report it and claim your money back. Plus since everything is traceable through the card system, the perpetrator can be caught wayyy easier than a guy who stole your cash. Also, it is wayy easier to steal cash since to actually duplicate the card alot of technicalities are involved.

  5. That explains why Steward bank has recently upgraded Ecocash POS machines. I didnt receive an sms but got some other sms stating that one can now get their PUK by simply dialing *111#, and under the same menu, you can also redeem an ‘Over scrathed card’ by entering the serial number, etc.

  6. The NFC card is not safe at all. Apple and Samsung added the finger print as an additional authentication against the NFC card. Someone can copy the NFC card in one tap and create a copy that can buy as well. People stay away from this card. Its like an ATM card without a PIN code. NFC cards can be copied and re-programmed easily. You dont need any special tools to start coping and writing NFC cards

    1. Are you kidding?? Its not as easy to duplicate as you make it out to be. Do you know how close you have to be to the card to be able to duplicate it??? I have studied these cards so I know how reliable they actually are and very affordable. Look at zimbabwe’s liquidity issue, we need cards like these otherwise alot of problems are going to arise in the nation. Mastercard, Visa and other chip cards are too expensive and a bank account is required so how are the poor people going to switch over to that??? A PIN is required for any amount above $3 and if you believe your card has undergone unauthorized transactions or copied, you can report a cashback asap and the perpetrator can also be caught since its traceable. I think its a brilliant idea if you look at the country’s liquidity problem right now this has to be a great solution. Its very difficult to make cashless solutions that are actually affordable for the vast population

    2. If you are to live in paranoia like this then i suggest you not even go out of your house because credit card information can be stolen just as easily in fact maybe even more easily and even cash for that matter (with cash you cant even trace the perpetrator or request a cashback). For NFC duplication you have to very close like uncomfortably close to duplicate so you will know that someone is trying to steal and its not as easy as a tap to do that it also takes a lil longer. Basically if you are thief then you have to very very close to the victim and stand there for a minute almost to be able to duplicate the card, are you saying the victim wont realize his/her card is being copied???? What gives you the right to deny cashless solution for so many people who are going to face a heavy liquidity issue. Visa and Mastercard can never make an affordable non bank account required card like this. Mvisa still requires the merchants to have a bank account, while this card works solely through mobile money.

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