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All You Need To Know About Ecocash’s MasterCard…

Ecocash MasterCard, Master Card

Almost everyday I get a question, whether in my inbox or verbal, from someone wanting to know about making online payments. Whilst being at Techzim I’ve made thousands of dollars in payments during the ‘cash crisis’ so I think I’m in a position to advise a thing or two in this area.

As such, instead of answering everyone anew each time, I thought it better for me to put down the workings of the Ecocash Debit Card MasterCard for all my friends and family to read, but also for our readers to have an appreciation and make better decisions when making payments in Zimbabwe.

Physical Card

Ecocash sell their Debit Card MasterCard for $5. This is a physical card that you can touch and hold. You used to be able to get it from Ecocash agents but they have since stopped that and now you need to present yourself to an Econet shop together with your funds to get one.

This card essentially allows you to make payments while drawing from your Ecocash balance/wallet where it is linked to. If you have no funds in Ecocash, you will not be able to make payments.

You can have a number of cards linked to your wallet (they actually called me in June 2015 and said I was a ‘high value client’ bla bla bla and so they were giving me a free card WITH MY NAME ON IT) though I think you can only link a maximum of 5 to your wallet.

Having multiple cards linked to your wallet is good, in that you can give your elderly relatives the card and have them to make payments without you needing to transfer funds to them (or in the event that they haven’t signed up for Ecocash). This method works best with someone whom you send/give money to regularly.

It worked like a charm for me when sending money to my daughter in Botswana.

Convenience Of Physical Card

The Ecocash Debit MasterCard comes in hand when you get to somewhere where they do not accept Ecocash Merchant (and nowadays Agent) payments. What has proved convenient for me has been the ability to make payments whilst swiping with the Ecocash card.

However, note that every time you swipe with your card it counts towards your quota of payments that you can make using your MasterCard (more about this in a bit).


Virtual Card Number

For making online payments one needs to buy what is termed a Virtual Card Number (or more popularly a VCN). This card can not be purchased if you have not purchased the physical card (I just found this out recently).

To get the VCN follow the instructions here.

It has a few restrictions however:

  1. It is valid for 14 days from the date of purchase.
  2. You can only make 12 transactions with it
  3. You don’t need your phone to be one when making the payment, but your Ecocash account needs to be funded to cover the payment.


MasterCard Payment ‘Quota’

Ecocash recently reduced the amount of payments that one can make using their MasterCard to $500/month, this is the total amount that one can pay with both the physical card and VCN combined. If you exhaust your quota by making payments through swiping, you will not be able to make online payments with the VCN, though Ecocash will still allow you to purchase the VCN.

The quota of $500 (as of January 2017, it may be reviewed downwardsat anytime) is renewed every 1st of the month.

MasterCard Payment Tips

At Techzim we’ve managed to come up with a few tips based on our use of the product and would love to share them with you to save you time, money and heartaches.

  1. Try not to use the MasterCard for swiping, make this payment through other bank cards if possible, or have the payment made through the cashiers Ecocash Merchant code.
  2. If a payment needs to be made, transfer the funds from your Ecocash to your bank and swipe using your bank card. You can see how much it’ll cost here.
  3. The limitation for the Ecocash MasterCard is on your Ecocash account. However, not many people know that you can have two Ecocash accounts in your name, however on two different sim cards. Visit an Econet shop to have this enabled.

If you have had any of your own experiences do share them in the comments below, of how you’ve managed to get your head around the whole thing.

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52 thoughts on “All You Need To Know About Ecocash’s MasterCard…

  1. I want to do a chargeback on they took my $500 last week then keep on asking more and more proof of my life, my business, bank accounts, photo of the card I used to pay. I supplied all this but they wouldn’t release my money. I then asked then to refund back the $500 and they haven’t done so for 6 days now. I used ecocash virtual card to pay and this card has expired now. How do I do a charge back so that I get my money back to ecocash

    1. I suggest you get in touch with Ecocash, 0808 8888 and speak with them. Get them to do what is a “charge back”, which essentially is a reversal of the transaction.

      Let us know how it goes.

    2. the thing with payoneer is you have to tell them the money was for consulting. If you tell them you are just moving money around they will hold your funds because it looks like you are laundering cash..

      that said, email payoneer and say you do web development and design or that you provided an advisory service and the charge was $500. the funds get released almost instantly

      1. Yes, I did that when I sent money to myself, however mine was a $20 payment. I’m yet to process another payment, so I’m not too sure whether this has to be done on every payment or it’s once off

  2. Do they allow one to deposit bond notes into your ecowallet and then buy something outside the country using mastercard?

    1. I have put funds from abroad into my mobile ecocash through World Remit. Once you set it up it is quite easy.

    1. At some point they may, but they’ve been aggressive with their onboarding of Merchants where just about everyone’s accepting Ecocash, so their need to be on that Payne platform is diminished

  3. Techzim, your information seems to contradict what I was told by Econet two days ago. I called their helpline after I had apparently exhausted the 500 imit allowed on the card. When I asked the customer service rep about activating another Ecocash account on my other line she said you can only have one account per person regardless of the number of lines you have. I can give you the name of the rep for you to check with her.

    1. Check the terms and conditions of econet / ecocash.
      You can have
      0772123123 – One Ecocash Wallet
      0773567890 – One Ecocash Wallet

      The limit for the 0772 is 500 per month
      the limit for the 0773 is 500 per month

      Therefore total limit 1000 per month

      Per wallet you can link more than one debit card but the limit is $500 per wallet

    2. I was advised in October of the ability to have two accounts under your name, but on separate sim cards. They may have changed their position on this.

      I will engage them again and confirm

  4. The Ecocash payment ecosystem is useless. It is now so overwhelming by the volume of transactions after people started using “plastic money” actively. Half the time Ecocash login and transacting is either slow or needs multiple time to carry out a transaction, the MasterCard it’s self has the highest downtime/decline/error rate of all the banks. You go into a shop and the cashier will tell you without even trying that “MasterCard ririkuramba” – it’s now the norm! I suggest Econet invest in more resources in its back office network to support the shop/retail POS network which will very soon become worthless!

    1. Sad to read that that has been your experience, mine however has been totally different. I manage to make payments and access their platform as and when I need it.

  5. Econet’s VCN is a bloody joke! I have on a number of times tried to use it for online payments, one example my Apple account. I will try to purchase something on iTunes [ insignificant amounts at well ie $1.50 or $2]. The transaction will be allowed by Apple but a few days later is reversed and Apple sends me an alert that “there was a problem with my payment card” This happens all the time. Other websites refuse to accept the card altogether! You call Econet Premier Support and they tell you that “the card is working fine, try again later or you have exhausted your limit”. I am tied of their lies! When I use my CBZ or Barclays card they have no problem at all!

    1. I’m yet to hear or read of anyone who has successfully used it for making Apple and/or Google app store payments.

      However, it works like a charm when paying through PayPal, or if you wanna pay Facebook.

      As much as you may be frustrated with it, there are use cases that it is valuable

  6. Final word to Econet…Don’t offer a service you can’t fully support! It leaves a lot of frustrated customers and you with a bad reputation.

  7. I was recently in the United States and the ecocash debit card wouldn’t work when I wanted to swipe something off of the till, I actually had to go to a cash point, withdraw money and pay in cash. What could be the explanation for that?

  8. Have anyone tried to access Funds using this Card in South Africa? Will you access cash in Rands from the South African ATM?

    1. There are some that say they have managed, while others state that there is a challenge. What’d I’d advise is don’t use this as your sole option to access funds while outside the country. Have a backup plan, as a “just in case”

    1. I think different banks are compatible with the card. The best solution is to have a back up plan should you fail to access your cash/funds using this card.

  9. Are the cards now available. Every econet shop didnt seem to have any the last time i hunted for one.

    1. Is there a shortage of the card? Have you checked Borrowdale and other such areas out of CBD?

      Unfortunately I don’t know any specific branch that may have, you’d have to check with the next branch you go to whether they can phone around for you and check if you can get one.

  10. Please help me out. What are the advantages of using the Econet Mastercard rather than using the Mastercards issued by banks?

  11. Thank you for the info
    I would like to know if l will be able to access any currency in any country that l would have visited in Feb or any other mnth when l have deposited bond notes

  12. Thank you for the article. So informative and current. I recently found out about the ecocash debit card and I have to say it’s a lifesaver
    My question is this: I used my $500 limit on the 28th of January. Will I be able to use the card again on Feb 1st or do I have to wait 30days?

    1. Did you ever get to know the answer to this because i am also wondering.

  13. how do i link my ecocash with payoneer mastercard?i would like to swipe using the payoneer card or buy online using the payoneer card in the future

    1. Ditto, i’d like to know the same please. And can you swipe with the Payoneer in Zim?

  14. is there currently something wrong with the debit cards? i’m in South Africa and iv been trying to withdraw money from my card since Friday, and it keeps saying daily limit exceeded. this whole month its my first time withdrawing since January. i have tried withdrawing the least amount of R200, and it continues to say daily limit exceeded. please help me???

  15. I am currently currently in South Africa and and I had about 31 usd which is about 400rands, I swipped and bought something for 150 rands with my ecocash master card, then went to the ATM trying to withdraw at least 200 rands but to my surprise I no had insufficient funds the money left in my wallet is 33,70 rands. The bank changes can not obviously be more than the purchase I made, so where did the rest of of the money go to? Please help me? I need need to understand how this card operates.

  16. Im failing to draw money out of my master card Im in south Africa nd its telling me insufficient funds yet there was $50 put into my card yesterday

  17. Im currently in Kenya, i went to withdraw $190 but to my surprise the bank charges were $20. I dont know if im the one who is confused, how can the charges be that high when using an ATM? They really need to clarify

  18. Are these ecocash MasterCards available in South Africa where do I go if I want it.

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