‘Confirmed’ EcoCash Is Now Essentially A Bank

Farai Mudzingwa Avatar
Calculating EcoCash charges

Telecel and NetOne users are now welcome to join the greener pastures of EcoCash. On second thought I think it would be fair to make the proclamation that EcoCash is now basically a bank. A digital banking platform if you want to be more specific.

Your mobile number is now basically an EcoCash account number

The EcoCash registration process is no longer dependant on what mobile network you use. Basically, EcoCash is treating mobile numbers as bank accounts. Your phone number is now more like an account number because of the fact that any mobile subscriber can access the platform. It no longer matters if you are on Econet, NetOne or Telecel which effectively means EcoCash is no longer Econet’s mobile money platform but more a Zimbabwean platform.

Telecash and OneMoney out of the game

EcoCash’s move to open the doors to NetOne & Telecel subscribers essentially rules Telecash and OneMoney out of the mobile money game. EcoCash already had about 98% of the mobile money user base and this move means if you’re on OneMoney and Telecash there is no reason to stay on those platforms. In fact, I’ll go as far as saying staying on these two would actually be an inconvenience.

Picture this scenario: You use OneMoney or Telecash exclusively and you want to send money to a friend or relative in an emergency. You then realise they use EcoCash and thus are not in a position to send them money because they have to then go to an agent, which is not practical during an emergency.The move by EcoCash to incorporate the two other MNO’S means the likelihood of this happening is effectively erased. You can use your Telecel/NetOne line and still enjoy the fruits of EcoCash when you need it.

The only hiccup for now is that if you are on NetOne/Telecel you can only use EcoCash via the app. This means it’s exclusively available to smartphone users and those with mbudzi’s(basic phone) you are out of luck. It will be interesting to see if and how Econet fixes that.

EcoCash divorced from Econet the MNO

EcoCash is also becoming independent from Econet with this move. Yes, they are still a subsidiary of Econet but this move means their brand becomes less aligned solely with Econet and more with mobile money in Zimbabwe. In a few years time if EcoCash is still open to other networks the Econet relationship will be less transparent because all Zimbabwean mobile phone users will be able to subscribe even if they are on other networks.

The Econet-EcoCash relationship will no longer be a conversation when signing up for the service. Think of it this way, all along for you to sign up for EcoCash you HAD to be on Econet. In maybe 7 year’s time though, you will just walk into an Econet shop and sign up without even considering what network you are subscribed to.

Your phone number is essentially equal to any other random but unique 10 digit number which serves as your bank account. It doesn’t matter whether or not you receive calls through this number or you don’t.

The move by EcoCash may be more significant than we think. Econet is seriously spreading its wings here and to think of it as just a mobile money platform no longer does it justice. EcoCash has transcended mobile money and is now more akin to a banking platform than an exclusive mobile money solution.


  1. Anonymous

    Ecocash needs to reintroduce debit cards

  2. Anonymous

    Guys at Ecocash please, you may be dominating the banking in Zim but please SORT OUT YOUR SYSTEM BEFORE YOU TAKE ON ANYMORE STUFF.1 . Card inserted in the card machine for $1.40. My acct debited but authorisation failed. 2. Bank to wallet transfer. My bank acct debited $25 my wallet not credited. 3. Card inserted into the card machine my acct debited $18 authorisation failed. This is happening all the time to people. WHAT IS GOING ON?

    1. Anonymous

      This is my Ecocash Debit Card…..

  3. anonymous

    since its inception, Ecocash has always allowed non Econet subscribers to recieve money on their phones as unregistered subscribers. Therefore this is just a completion of the leg that was missing (send money). However that doesn’t bring Ecocash anywhere near to becoming a banking institution.

  4. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    “Confirmed”, there is no confirmation from Econet or EcoCash in your article. Putting it in quotes doesn’t make any difference to your claim.

    That aside, the fact that they are allowing subscribers from networks to register doesn’t make them any closer to being a bank. It still remains a mobile wallet. In this instance, the mobile part still exists. Using a phone number as an identifier is arbitrary, they could use an email address or ID number if they wanted. They might just want to conform to the requirements outlined for mobile wallets in Zim.

    You can neither RTGS nor ZIPIT from EcoCash. You also don’t get interest. Things that banks do. That’s even before you look at the legal requirements to call it a bank.

    1. 1 ZW

      Too much excitement these techzim guyz have

    2. Ghost

      Wc intrest ar u gettin n from wc bank these days, bank ccharges are much highr than intrest

      1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

        Even that little interest makes a difference. EcoCash charges are higher than regular bank charges. With banks, swiping is 10 cents up to 10 dollars, 42 cents anything above. You can swipe for $5000 and it costs you 42 cents. And those charges are when the POS doesn’t belong to your bank. So with Ecocash you have high charges and no interest on top of that, I don’t see your point.

    3. Lovejoy Manduku

      Ever heard of Ecocash save? You do get interest.

      1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

        EcoCash Save is underwritten by another organisation. It’s not an Ecocash product. Just like when you get insurance from NMB Bank, the policy is from an insurance company not NMB. If you ever have problems with your Ecocash Save, Ecocash will escalate the issue to the people where your money is actually being kept. Do your due diligence.

  5. Anonymous

    So long as they have not embraced zimswitch hapana hapana Izero, Swipe into ecocash kudii, what about out.

  6. KatKat

    I don’t know why Telecash, the mobile wallet which is on Zimswitch and has a Zimswitch card did’t do this before Econet. Telecash should have literally gone into the streets and dished out its debit card and allowed anyone to register, with or without a Telecel number because their service has much more to offer than Ecocash. Anyway, I believe Econet pays more their employees to think.

  7. Change or become a fossil

    I do foresee a future without banks in their current form. I foresee the banking sector dying a slow death just as the postal service. A pure case of Darwinism, banks do need to reform and rethink their whole system. I don’t see the need for a proof of residence when i have already have a registered mobile line. i don’t see the need for all the restrictions and requirements for me to allow them to keep my money on my behalf. I earn money, they keep it safe that’s the basics of a bank. All else that banks purport to be doing is an illusion of false services. Keep my money safe and allow me to pay a fee for keeping my money safe. I once suggested to CBZ to allow me to pay for my monthly account fee in a once off payment, they refused and couldn’t even consider such a thought. i was offering to pay $60 for a year rather than them deducting $5 each first day of the month. “Makes you wonder what Managers are for”, the old way does not work in this age, wish they could just get that.

  8. Happy Zhou

    i see where you are coming from with your imahination about it becoming virtually like a bank. Ecocash is a great service i will say that. Problem is you cant save money as banks do. Well at least they dont promote it to that extent.
    Also Ecocash has transaction limits which are very low. Compared to banks. Its interesting what you’ve said…its just…not aligned to what banks do. In terms of fractional reserve banking. They dont even lend the money we deposit. I think they shouldnt even operate like banks because that would be very risky for such a service.

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