Earlier today we attended the launch of EcoSure’s Thwala Sonke product, an affordable life insurance policy that is now open to multiple beneficiaries.
Of interest at the launch was the constant reminder/announcement of Econet’s “financial inclusion” vision for all Zimbabweans.With it, Econet looks to leverage the power of mobile transactions to drive their financial inclusion vision by offering each of their subscribers a wide range of financial services and products.
According to the World Banks overview, financial inclusion means that:
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…individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance–delivered in a responsible and sustainable way…
So far, Econet has driven its financial inclusion vision by providing its subscribers access to products like EcoSure, EcoCash, EcoSave, EcoFarmer, EcoCash card services and most recently the EcoCash and Mukuru deal which falls under remittances but yet to be branded under the “Eco-something” family. All these products seem to tie into the World Banks definition of financial inclusion yet Econet claimed today it had more “first time in Zimbabwe” products on the way?
This led us to investigate what could actually be on the way. A quick look at the EcoCash website gives an unassuming glimpse to the future, under coming soon there is:
- EcoCash Online (Web) Services
- Card Services
- 3rd Party Processing Services
We have already seen 3 out of the 4 items launched or implemented. Remittances were introduced through the Mukuru partnership recently, Card Services are now at their second stage of implementation with the Mastercard and we have seen the use of EcoCash on many 3rd party services. Which leaves only one more step left in EcoCash’s financial inclusion vision, an online web service.
The other day we had a small argument in the office, on one side we were sure you could access your eco cash via the “data app” without the need for your sim card and just need for the internet. Well, that side was wrong, you still need your sim card in your phone to access EcoCash.
To put this into better perspective, your bank account, whether you are on Econet, Telecel or NetOne you can access the same bank account via its app or whether you are on fiber, ADSL or WiMAX provided by any ISP you will still access the same account via online banking. The point is all this is made possible through internet connectivity. The banking apps or online banking are not sim-locked to a specific operator and neither should EcoCash.
But only time will tell if this will happen, Econet’s rapid implementation of products and services is leaving its competitors in the dust. We last spoke of OneWallet implementing something new back in 2014 and Telecash has been featured here and there.
It might not be too long before we see the aforementioned product implemented causing some major disruption to the financial service market.
Let us know what you think of Econet launching an EcoCash Online (Web) Service in the comment section below.