If you just crawled out from under a rock and been there for a year, welcome.
A lot has happened over the past twelve months, from Zimbabwe introducing “its own currency” (the bond note) to NetOne rebranding their mobile money service OneWallet to OneMoney. What has been most interesting however has been the cash crisis that Zimbabwe’s been going through and how cash has been difficult to come by.
Ecocash, Zimbabwe’s largest mobile money solution, that processes 98% of the mobile money transactions locally, has been faced with a few challenges as they become a victim of their own success. Chief among these challenges is the failure for its customers to get their hands on cash and EcoCash’s agents charging a premium to those wanting to cash-out.
Customers have been caught between not paying this premium that’s demanded or going somewhere where cash is available.
Sadly, cash has been elusive and so many people just give in and pay the premium and go on about their business.
EcoCash, at least through their Facebook page, has advised what customers should do in order to get their hands on cash from the service. Said an EcoCash Customer Care Agent (emphasis mine):
Please be advised that EcoCash has no charges outside the ones on our tariff charts. Please do not accept to pay the extra fee as this is the only way to stop this practice. Kindly note that Econet shops often have cash for cash-out transactions. Kindly visit your nearest Econet shop and ask the usual times they have cash so that you can also be able to access it. ^TS
This is different to those who will be sent cash from outside the country as EcoCash has guaranteed that they will receive cash, in the form of US dollars together with a 7% bonus in bond notes.
No attempts have been made by Techzim to establish how true this is, however, if research from the last couple of months is anything to go by this is all smoke and mirrors, as practice on the ground shows otherwise.
Things may have changed though, so we’ll extend the benefit of the doubt to them and advise you that should you need cash out of your EcoCash wallet, from money that was transferred by someone locally, then go to an Econet shop and ask them their dates and times when they will have cash. Better yet, if you could come into the comments and advise where and when you managed to get cash without needing to pay a premium for withdrawals, that would be awesome.
What I’m really interested to know, however, is why you need cash? What would you like to pay for that does not accept ‘swipe’ and/or EcoCash? If you could pay this expense with ‘plastic money’ would you still need cash?
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