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Mobile money services fail to explore growth opportunities in a cash dry Zimbabwe

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Cash Crisis, bank Queues, Zimbabwean Banking

EcoCash the most popular mobile money service in Zimbabwe has been going to great lengths to position itself as the primary channel for payments as the country struggles with a cash crisis.

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in addition to the flood of adverts that sell some already familiar services like buying airtime, it also removed charges for merchant payments and has now started promoting the option for fuel payments via EcoCash at service stations around the country.

All this is commendable and the truth is, it actually is the obvious thing to do. As the efforts to access cash become increasingly futile any service that gives Zimbabweans a facility to make transactions electronically has to double efforts to work with as many service providers as possible. It’s a crisis, so anyone selling some sort of option for relief has to sell their service.

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So it’s a bit disappointing when the other mobile money services (Telecash, OneWallet, Nettcash) fail to do the same thing.

Without an immediate end to the cash crisis in sight, I would have expected to see a flood of mobile-money related value added services accompanied by an integration with as many service providers as possible.

Providers like Telecash had already done some of the work by rolling out its agent network, offering service integration and introducing supporting services like its mobile app and the Gold Card. However, this hasn’t been promoted lately.

Why isn’t the Gold Card being placed in the hand of every Telecash subscriber right now? After all, we are now in an environment where Point of Sale transactions are increasingly becoming a primary option.

Why aren’t other transactional charges being slashed or suspended through promotions? Why haven’t we seen more services and attempts at being more visible from NetOne’s OneWallet, which has probably been the worst performing fin tech subsidiary in Zimbabwean telecoms?

The answers are probably locked in some strategy meeting for each of these providers. Wherever they are, though, they need to take action for everyone’s sake.


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5 thoughts on “Mobile money services fail to explore growth opportunities in a cash dry Zimbabwe

  1. retailers should also introduce their own in-house cards that can be topped up with cash and used for buying & selling with loyalty programs e.t.c

    maybe retailers are hording cash, maybe everyone is hording cash – noone wants to have cash in the bank as this cash will soon be bond cash which u can use to buy stuff from outside the country – just maybe

    1. Not a bad idea at all.. But there are entire infrastructures behind having a card issuing service.
      Maybe big retailers can…but it’s still expensive. Unless they partner with a bank(evil)… In South Africa Shoprite operates its own complete payments infrastructure, partnering with a bank to facilitate transactions and do money transfer.

  2. CBZ has introduced their mobile app and from my experience, it is the best mobile product on the market

  3. All fine thoughts, still these are private enterprises needing to grow their business in thoughful directions. They have limited financial resources and any investments (such as putting a Gold card in every person’s hands) costs millions. Private businesses must generate profits, full stop.

    The crisis we are facing is of the government’s making and has had a very long gestation period. Yes these mobile money services may hold hope for mitigating some problems for some people, and they all seem to be trying in their own ways to be growing their businesses but we must face the truth that their is no panacea, no tech solution, that will vanquish the problems that decades of economic mismanagment have wrought.

  4. well in this case gvt needs to support the initiative either by offering a subsidy on each mew pos installed just a smallpetcentage.
    or offering a tax break for each pos unit that is deployed
    fat chance of either cz zimra needs the target and gvt needs the cash and doesn’t have any to spare for such a program.
    surpringly to this day gvt doesn’t take plastic money in smy form in most of its departments .

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