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EcoCash lowers tariffs, maintains charges for cashouts

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Econet Zimbabwe, Mobile Money in Zimbabwe, Mobile Money Agents, Cash In, Cash Out

Some good news for the 6 million people using EcoCash, Econet’s mobile money service. It has reduced some of its money transfer tariffs. This comes a little over a month after it also removed merchant payment fees.

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Effective from the 1st of August 2016 the cost of an Ecocash to EcoCash transfer will range from 12 cents for the $1 minimum to $3 for the $500 maximum transfer amount.

The biggest reduction is for sending money to an unregistered EcoCash user. Tariffs for this have been lowered by as much as $6 (tariffs now range from $0 to $7.95 for the $500 maximum)

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Amount($US)Send to registered subscriber ($)Send to Unregistered subscriber ($)Cash-Out Tariff ($)
1.00 - 1.990.12N/AN/A
2.00 - 5.000.130.330.20
5.01 - 10.000.240.540.30
10.01 - 20.000.421.020.60
20.01 - 30.000.601.500.90
30.01 - 40.000.791.991.20
40.01 - 50.000.992.491.50
50.01 - 60.001.403.402.00
60.01 - 75.001.463.762.30
75.01 - 100.001.944.943.00
101.01 - 150.002.435.933.50
150.00 - 200.002.836.733.90
201.00 - 300.002.927.774.85
301.00 - 400.002.967.864.90
400.01 - 500.003.007.954.95

Despite the adjustment, EcoCash still maintains the highest fees for mobile money services, something that is usually overlooked by subscribers because of the value added services it provides (like extensive remittance services integration and MasterCard facilities) and its wide reach.

Telecash, EcoCash’s biggest rival, also revised its tariff structure at the beginning of the month, and even with fees attached to its money transfers (telecash to telecash transfers used to be free) it is still cheaper than EcoCash which is also the largest mobile money service in Zimbabwe.

No incentives for “taking out” money

The tariffs for cashouts remain unchanged, suggesting that EcoCash, like every other mobile money service, isn’t warm to the idea of its customers taking money out of their wallets and effectively the ecosystem.

This would partly explain an investment in supporting services like debit cards and an extensive rollout of merchants and agent payment facilities. They reduce the need for subscriber cashouts just as much as the tariffs that serve as penalties of sorts.

These features have become important not only for the management of money within EcoCash’s ecosystem but also as a tool for limiting cashout frequency.

In the past couple of months, the cashout facility has been exhausted by mobile money users who have turned to mobile money agents for banking services due to the cash crisis in Zimbabwe which has affected traditional banks.

Rather than queue for bank withdrawals, account holders have been moving money to mobile wallets and cashing out from there. As a result, mobile money agents are running dry with most limiting cashouts as a way of managing their floats.

EcoCash might not be able to stop people from doing this, but if these new tariffs say anything it all, it’s that it certainly won’t give an incentive by lowering them.

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