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.
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.
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.