Earlier this morning we were in Harare’s CBD where we noticed city parking officials are now integrated with EcoCash, Zimbabwe’s leading mobile payment platform.
We were able to talk to one of the parking officials who told us the integration took place early last week and has been live ever since in yet another quiet move by Econet to secure a highly transactive market following its integration with ZESA.
Now, motorists can pay their parking via EcoCash. The annoyance of handing over that precious $1 in cash is finally gone as many motorists were now either avoiding going into town with their personal vehicles, parking in actual parking spots or paying the officials altogether in what had become a game of cat and mouse.
You can now pay the parking officials in one of two ways:
1. EcoCash Ta: The NFC micro-payment system which Econet aggressively marketed and reintroduced a few weeks in print media is one of the options.
The micro-payment system allows you to make small purchases with EcoCash without the hassle of entering your pin and going through the often tedious steps pf making a payment.
How does it work?
You get an EcoCash Ta sticker for $1 from an Econet Shop or EcoCash Agent, this sticker is placed on your primary mobile device and integrated to your EcoCash Wallet. To make a payment all you have to do is tap the vendor or in this case, the parking official’s POS device and the relevant amount is deducted from you EcoCash wallet.
No EcoCash pin is required for payments up to $3 and it has a daily transaction limit of $1000.
2. Merchant Code: Each parking official now has their own merchant code. You can pay the parking official directly to their company assigned merchant code and have your parking receipt printed out immediately.
This method is relatively known as most have become accustomed to merchant code payments.
We are not sure if Telecel’s TeleCash or NetOne’s OneWallet will follow suit and integrate with city parking. It’s a move that we believe will bring convenience to many motorists with many welcoming the developments as a small but necessary step to deal with the current cash crisis. $1 may seem like a small amount but it’s annoying to just give away after all the hassles of getting it.
More interesting is how EcoCash is slowly bringing EcoCash Ta into the public domain. The product, which we thought would revolutionize micro mobile money payments back in 2015 seemed to not have the expected public uptake, maybe it was due to it not being associated with an actual payment system at the time or there being cash around so no one recognized its significance.
With this integration, we expect more public interest in EcoCash Ta which may see more people adopt it. When we last wrote about EcoCash Ta they had just run a 12-page feature in the Herald last month in which they mentioned a possible integration with ZINARA’s tollgate system.
We feel like there is no better time for mobile money platforms to snap up different markets on to their platforms with the current cash shortages and wonder why TeleCash and OneWallet have been so quiet during this period?