Econet, Zimbabwe’s largest mobile financial services company, has finally integrated its EcoCash platform to that of CABS. CABS is one of the largest and oldest banks in Zimbabwe.
The two companies had not come to an agreement to integrate more than four years after Econet started integrating the EcoCash platform with local banks. At some point the issue degenerated into lobbying regulators and bad mouthing each other in the press.
CABS has its own mobile money (more banking though than regular mobile money) called Textacash and to date sought to promote it at the expense of integrating with EcoCash.
The sad result of the 4 year standoff being that CABS customers looking to use EcoCash would need to first transfer the money to an EcoCash friendly bank and then on to the mobile money platform, incurring unnecessary costs in the process.
Personally, as a customer of both CABS and EcoCash, I’m glad reason eventually prevailed.
As with other Bank/EcoCash integration, CABS customers will be able to move money from their bank accounts to their EcoCash wallets and vice versa. Econet just sent out the announcement in a press release today.
The announcement also says EcoCash users will be able to use CABS point of sale infrastructure to shop directly from their mobile phones.
We hope that such financial service platform integrations continue in Zimbabwe to the point that customers are able to transfer money between mobile wallets owned by different telecoms companies.
Here’s the full press release by Econet:
In a drive to cement its growing electronic payments ecosystem, EcoCash has partnered with Central Africa Building Society (CABS), one of Zimbabwe’s largest banks to enhance customer banking and merchant services.
This partnership has seen the rolling out of a first of its kind, unique point of sale integration solution, which allows EcoCash users to simply enter their mobile number at the retailer point of sale pin pad. EcoCash pin validation is done via registered mobile and the transaction is done. To ensure the ecosystem is balanced end to end, banking services have also been introduced for CABS customers that hold EcoCash wallets. To enjoy the convenience, customers can transfer funds between CABS and EcoCash in real-time, 24-7.
Natalie Jabangwe, General Manager of EcoCash said, “Our aim is to make it more convenient for all banked customers in Zimbabwe to move their funds from their bank and leverage on our large ecosystem of merchants and billers. There has been no better time to consolidate with banks, particularly CABS, as we provide greater convenience for customers to overcome the hassles of the liquidity crunch.”
This partnership brings the cumulative number of banks linked to EcoCash to 9, thus CABS, Steward, CBZ, Stanbic, POSB, NMB, Agribank, ZB and BancABC. There is no doubt that EcoCash is moving swiftly to consolidate the banking system directly with its ecosystem, given, the cash crisis. EcoCash will inevitably see increased activity, particularly in payments as it becomes easier for more customers to funds their wallet electronically as opposed to using cash.
“We are pleased to partner with EcoCash as it becomes increasingly important for industry stakeholders to jointly develop solutions that ease the burden associated with cash. Our customers will not only enjoy the convenience of transfers between EcoCash and CABS but will leverage on the direct integration of EcoCash with our merchant point of sale, to improve the user experience across our base of over 6000 merchants country wide,” Mehluli Mpofu, Deputy MD of CABS remarked.
The partnership between CABS and EcoCash comes at a very critical time, where Zimbabweans are experiencing cash shortages. It is important for financial service providers to provide solutions that lessen our dependence of cash. The scale of this partnership will provide notable benefit to our respective customers. CABS point of payment retail network includes Bon Marche, OK group, Pick n Pay, Spar group amongst many others.
Douglas Mboweni, CEO of Econet commented, “Our organisation is continuously working in partnership with both local and international financial services stakeholders to ensure that we create a rich and relevant ecosystem, that addresses the pain points of customers at both a domestic and international level.”