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EcoCash partners Mukuru in new cross border remittance tie-up, consolidates its place in formal diaspora inflows

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EcoCash and Mukuru

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Executives from EcoCash and Mukuru at the announcement of their partnership

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In the latest of its remittances partnerships Zimbabwean mobile network operator, Econet Wireless has just unveiled a cross-border money transfer deal between its mobile money service EcoCash and remittances services outfit Mukuru (Mukuru.com).

It’s similar to the arrangement that Mukuru has with Telecel Zimbabwe’s Telecash mobile money service.

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Through this tie up Zimbabweans in source markets (South Africa and the United Kingdom) sending money via Mukuru can send funds directly to recipients’ EcoCash wallets.

Recipients can then perform any EcoCash related transactions with the funds, including cashouts

The EcoCash/Mukuru remittances for the South Africa-to-Zimbabwe corridor have already been activated and according to Mukuru, the United Kingdom-to-Zimbabwe corridor will be activated in the coming week.

While recipients will not incur any charges for money that is sent into their EcoCash wallets, the sender will have to pay a commission of between 5% and 8% for each transfer.

Signs of EcoCash Diaspora struggles, a response to the bond note or both?

For anyone who’s been following the trail left by EcoCash Diaspora or used the EcoCash platform to receive money from abroad, this arrangement isn’t anything new.

It’s just the latest of EcoCash’s remittances tie-ups and as such it offers the same value proposition for subscribers while expanding the channels at the disposal of the money transfer outfit (in this case, Mukuru).

Zimbabwe is set to introduce a foreign currency alternative in the form of bond notes, so cashless alternatives such as direct-to-wallet remittances are a strategic move not only for EcoCash but for companies like Mukuru.

With dwindling foreign currency reserves and a catalyst for cash shortages like a pseudo local currency on the way all formal avenues that ordinarily provide cash solutions are at risk. Having an e-solution isn’t such a bad idea.

At the same time, it also appears to be another checkpoint in EcoCash’s efforts plan to slowly corner person to person formal remittances.

Right now anyone sending money to Zimbabwe via popular remittances outfits like Moneygram, WorldRemit, Western Union, MTN Money and now Mukuru has the option to send it directly to the recipient’s wallet, an arrangement that has undisputed value for the sender and recipient.

Econet’s extensive agent network (26,000 and counting), the popularity of its EcoCash platform (6 million users+) and its willingness to partner with any and every remittances outfit can only point to more partnerships in the future.

Signing up Mukuru is a major step towards its plans to have a major grip on formal remittances inflow, largely because of Mukuru’s strong presence in the South Africa-to-Zimbabwe remittances market.

This corridor has been identified as the most lucrative for remittances because of the huge contingent of Zimbabweans living in the neighbouring country.

However, it also brings into question the success of Econet’s own EcoCash Diaspora. It was launched in 2015 as Econet’s own effort at channeling funds from South Africa to Zimbabwe.

While Econet has been quick to notice the strengths of partnerships with traditional remittances companies with existing footprints and brand presence, it’s also heightening the value proposition of its own competitors.

Econet management has highlighted this as a strategy to extend options to its customers. However, that’s a bit difficult to accept without questioning how much of an impact it’s having on EcoCash’s very own remittances project.

(Econet has said that it is unable to comment on or share figures relating to EcoCash Diaspora because of its upcoming half year financial report)

In any case, EcoCash has consolidated its place in formal diaspora inflows. What will be interesting to see though is how much all these partnerships are contributing to EcoCash and Econet as a whole.


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9 thoughts on “EcoCash partners Mukuru in new cross border remittance tie-up, consolidates its place in formal diaspora inflows

  1. Iwe Nigel usanyebere vanhu Ecocash allows you to do a lot of things these days but Cashing Out is not one of them. Ecocash agents all over town have turned into Cash Barons, put money in Ecocash at your own risk. They will only accept cash ins and sell the cash to the highest bidder.

    Those in diaspora find other methods of making remittances. DO NOT USE ECOCASH!!!!
    At least Mukuru will make you queue and later give you the money. Ecocash is now just rubbish.

    1. I beg to differ. I think this is a better deal. The country is hard hit by the cash crisis. Therefore there is need to find ways of evading those queues. With ecocash you can make payments without handling the cash which is more convenient than queueing for days. The issue of agents not giving money is not their fault. This is a national crisis. Most people are transferring money from their banks to ecocash because the banks do not have the cash. As a result agents are now serving more people than before.

  2. Muzukuru I beg to differ here, As an Ecocash Agents we are not spared by the cash shortages which are affecting banks. Imagine an Agent operating with a float of around $1000 to $2000 having to handle only cash out without any cash ins? People are linking ecocash account to there bank because this has became a better alternative to get hard cash than banks. We are now serving more clients than before , and if someone does a cash out mari inopinda muwallet yaAgent and that agent haana kwari kuzowana cash unless paita cash in.

    1. I personally visited almost 20 Ecocash agents. Most of them had wads of cash, some even demanded a 10% fee from prospective clients. The system is being abused and Econet does not seem to have systems in place to detect and prevent this.

  3. I am in totally different mind set of 1st comment, that looks more of hated msg and nothing more then rubbish it self. Banks in Zimbabwe are now running to EcoCash to integrate with as to hand over the crowed of their branches to EcoCash i.e via Bank to Wallet, Banks are doing everything to put their problem on EcoCash even some banks have gone to a level where they ask customers at branch to get their counter cash withdrawal into EcoCash as they dont have Cash. This is good move as any money comes in Zimbabwe is good thing.

  4. @Muzukuru i think u sound too emotional than objective. I think cash issues are national challenge and econet is only trying to play a part to ease the challenges….Y should yu in BOLD tell me not to use ecocash wen i hv just bought fuel at a service station with my ecocash and my wife yesterday bot some groceries with ecocash without ourselves even worrying about cashing out first

  5. Ini hangu ndinoti mari yevanogeza twuchembere vanoidii munyika izere ndarama nemadhayamonzi. Chengetai mari yetwuchembere twenyu ikoko kumabhengi eikoko!!

    Monzi mari hunzayi asi kuti mureve zvaichashandiswa monzi bodo hamubvumirwe. Ndozvichatsakatisa vese vana ecocash diaspora izvi.

  6. This is an inclusive step in the right direction from both companies – let the customer vote with his feet.

  7. All this is fair and fine, they can partner as many companies as possible but there is BIG flaw on this ecocash system which they are aware of but don’t seem keen to correct. Because of that they won’t win my business and many other customers. Ecocash wallet has a limit of money you can receive. One cannot load up anything above $500. And in my case I usually deal with a punters greater than that. Until they revise that then this ecocash diaspora is useless. Word to the wise…

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