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Econet launches sticker-based NFC payment system called EcoCash ta!

Local mobile operator Econet has had a keen interest in Near Field Communication (NFC) technology for a while.

At the Beyond the Phone Expo held in October this year, it unveiled its NFC-enabled debit card called the EcoCash Express Debit Card. This MasterCard product allows users to pay for goods by tapping the card against a compliant Point of Sale (POS) device.

Now, Econet has introduced a follow-up to that product, and its called EcoCash Ta! The name ta! is actually an onomatopoeic play on the tapping action made when someone uses the service.

How do I use it?

Ecocash ta! works pretty much in the same way as the EcoCash Express Debit Card with the only difference being that it uses an NFC-enabled sticker that you can place at the back of your phone (actually it can be stuck anywhere for that matter – assuming you handle any other device a lot more extensively). 

The stickers have been priced at $1 and are available from Econet shops and EcoCash Agents.

Your Ecocash Mobile money wallet is synced with the sticker. When you want to make a payment you tap the sticker device against the merchant or vendor’s enabled micro Point of Sale (POS) device and the relevant amount is deducted from your EcoCash wallet. No EcoCash PIN is required for payments of $3 or less. The EcoCash ta! has a daily transaction limit of $1,000.

One for the vendors

Vendors-Harare, Vendors
A vendor spot in downtown Harare

Interestingly, the EcoCash ta! has been introduced as a point of sale option for vendors and merchants first. The new payment system uses micro POS devices which have been earmarked not just for retailers (as was/is the case with its debit card options) but for vendors and merchants.

According to Econet’s announcement, more than 500 vendors, merchants and agents have already signed up to use the service to accept payments.

It would seem Econet is moulding its payment services evolution around local market dynamics. In urban areas, where mobile money has experienced a fervent growth because of high volumes of both formal and informal trade, the rise of vendor based retailing has changed the landscape of cash movements.

Rather than ignore this reality, products like EcoCash ta! are actually being promoted for the small scale trader, merchant and vendor. Collectively, this segment is handling a large haul of the limited cash in Zimbabwe. Products like EcoCash ta! just ensure that those funds or a large part of them are tucked in the Eco -system.

At the same time, this looks like a side step from card payments. Sure, the integration with mobile money was a fantastic idea, but in some ways, cards represent a movement in the other direction for a market that embraced e-payments through the phone.

Rather than force the card down the informal market’s proverbial pocket, it’s probably smarter to offer a product with a middle ground of sorts. There are all the conveniences of mobile money offered for the user and at the same time there isn’t a card extension, just a sticker and a ta! which means transactions and cash retention for EcoCash.

Quick NetOne, Econet, And Telecel Airtime Recharge

16 thoughts on “Econet launches sticker-based NFC payment system called EcoCash ta!

  1. I am wondering what happens if someone steals my mobile!? they can spend my 20 bucks on 6 chicken inn for 3 mari? or what, there is no password kah?

    1. What happens when someone gets ur master card or Visa card? These r actually with greater risk because I don’t even need ur card…I just hav to take down ur card number, expiry date, and security number and I can shop online a wipe out ALL ur cash even with one transaction!

    2. I recall seeing a poster in one EcoCash shop saying “Phone yako ndo Bank rako” – I guess thats what it means.

  2. will bring some convenience to the transport sector (kombi’s & busese) if they adopt it. solving the pain point of hassling for change and accountability in the transport sector

    1. Lol. It has now become standard practice for people to accuse Econet of stealing “their” ideas. Econet would be the first to admit that the vast majority of its new businesses/services are not revolutionary. No one owns and idea. Ideas are worthless unless someone executes that ideas and brings it to market. I recall many people excusing Econet of stealing the “idea” to launch a mobile money service as if they themselves had invented the concept / business model. Mobile money, however, was far from a new concept when Ecocash launched originally. It had been proven to be a successful model in Kenya with m’pesa. Econet would be the first to acknowledge this fact. What Econet did was to take that idea and successfully execute it in the Zimbabwean market. At the end of the day, successful execution is often better than original, untried / untested inventions. As they say, why reinvent the wheel! You might very well have been that first Zimbabwean to have seen the potential, however unless you execute effectively, don’t start crying if someone else comes later and creates a success business on the back of it. You can only blame yourself for not having seized upon the idea and commercialized it!

      1. So many ideas but insufficient ability to take hold of that idea and properly execute. Too many dreamers and too few doers! Of course, it’s not easy to realize a great idea. Funding issues, especially in Zimbabwe, often prevent effective execution. Large corporations therefore inevitably have an advantage in that sense. However, it would be wrong to blame a successful business for seizing upon a good idea. After all, if they didn’t, that idea would probably never be realized. Great ideas that remain on paper will never help Zimbabwe! Rant over!

        1. Congrats dude, U really did call it. Obvious? ……Yes,…….
          First to type it here?…. Yes.
          Im sure that counts for something lol.

  3. Afrocoin piloted NFC in Zim around 2013. Then they disappeared. Turns out they were swallowed by Ecocash:
    Afrocoin has teamed up with ECOCASH in Zimbabwe! Now your Beneficiaries in Zimbabwe can receive money directly into their Ecocash e-wallets and can collect cash at over 5,000 Ecocash Agent locations across Zimbabwe.

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