Recently, I got a tip from a Standard Chartered Bank user who pointed out that Swipe Into EcoCash was not working for them and actually hadn’t been for a while. Interestingly, this comes at a time when Standard Chartered Bank now has a direct link to OneMoney.
Let’s backtrack a bit…
So there’s always been this ‘tension’ between some local banks and EcoCash. Remember how customers for a long time requested that banks integrate with EcoCash (or its the other way round) but still nothing seemed to move. What makes it interesting is that it was always the other party’s fault. If you asked EcoCash, they’d give you the vibe that banks felt threatened by their existence and if you asked the banks, they’d tell you that EcoCash had some unreasonable expectations.
Nonetheless, depending on who the victim was, EcoCash either played smart or played the banks. So for those banks that were not willing to allow their customers to seamlessly transfer money from their bank account to their EcoCash wallet or viceversa, EcoCash went above them and made a deal with Steward Bank. The deal was to make use of the link that Steward Bank has with ZimSwitch in order to gain access to every other bank that was not integrated with them. This is how Swipe Into EcoCash came about.
Linking your bank to EcoCash was (and still is) extremely necessary considering how much of a cashless society we’ve become and how 97% of all e-transactions are EcoCash transactions. So the Swipe Into EcoCash came as a big relief to the customers whose banks had not yet been linked to EcoCash so much that some of the flaws of the system were easily masked by the excitement.
One of the flaws is how Swipe Into EcoCash depends only on the availability of a Steward Bank POS machine. And of course because there’s so many Steward Bank POS machines to go around, that flaw hasn’t been too evident.
However, this flaw came to light when the Standard Chartered debit card stopped working on Steward Bank POS machines. The bank says it’s a technical technical challenge and have committed to resolving it.
Meanwhile, people can ‘enjoy the convenience’ of transferring money from their StanChart account into OneMoney, a different mobile money platform. Clearly, mobile money has been more convenient for people in Zimbabwe hence it has been more preferable. Could this be how StanChart customers are somehow forced to use OneMoney instead? I know there’s not as many shops/service providers taking OneMoney as there are those taking EcoCash, but it is things like these that begin to shift the dynamics of the system.
The conspiracy theorist in me is tempted to think this “coincidence” was deliberate. Deliberate for various reasons. One of them being getting back at EcoCash for ‘cheating the system’; well of course business does not operate like that, but believe me in Zimbabwe it can! The other reason would be to disable EcoCash just so OneMoney can become a more visible and viable option considering the current status quo of how EcoCash dominated the mobile money world is.
But like I said, these are just theories…