As I said the other day before the bond notes came along making an international payment on say 11:11 says was a very easy matter. All you needed was an Ecocash account that had signed up for the Ecocash Debit card, you could generate a Virtual Card Number during checkout which you would enter and money would be debited straight from your Ecocash account.
Then the bond notes happened and the government’s RTGS balance kept ballooning and foreign currency got to be as rare as a hen’s teeth. Econet kept reducing the transaction limit of the Ecocash debit card every other day until one day they just pulled the plug. Well guess what, it seems the card is back.
Do not get too excited though
Before you get all too excited here is one thing your need to understand. The card will require you to have a funded FCA Wallet account in order for it to work. During our initial tests we were able to generate a VCN even though we did not have anything in the FCA Wallet on the phone we used for testing.
The other good news is that it seems you do not have to change your active wallet every time you want to use the VCN service and probably the same applies when you use the physical debit card as well. When you are sending money you are required to explicitly change your source wallet to FCA wallet from RTGS wallet before you make the transaction and vice versa. It seems the cards automatically deduct money from the right account.
When we tried to link the VCN with PayPal we got an error:
Transaction Failed with TXN Id:IP181213.1950.O00006 due to:Transfer rule not defined
This is probably because the account we used to test had zero funds (FCA funds we mean). PayPal usually performs an authorisation test to ensure the added card exists and works before it accepts the card onto the platform.
We already have plenty of Cards what makes Econet’s Debit Card Unique?
One of the many gripes that I have right now with most cards is that they don’t work well together. In fact if you for example deposit your USD into say a Steward Visa Account there is really no getting it back unless you leave Zimbabwe and withdraw the money on some foreign ATM.
Prepaid cards make it impossible to move funds from one account to another unless you are using the FBC card which allows you to do card to card transfers. Even then the transfers only work if both the sender and the receiver are using FBC.
With the Ecocash Debit card you can now use your FCA wallet to make payments. In fact when you receive an FCA payment you don’t even have to hunt for USD if all you want to do is make a foreign payment. It would be nice feature if Econet can link the Dura FCA account to your FCA wallet so we can finally do something really useful with all those FCA accounts.
The Econet Card actually makes the funds in FCA accounts (wallets) a bit more mobile. Right now there are a lot of banks with different Individual FCA accounts and in most cases its not clear what you can really do with these funds besides the fact that they are “ring fenced” (he scoffs).
Expect to see a gradual return to the old world where we could say pay DSTV using mobile banking linked to our FCA accounts. That would be pretty convenient. I wish more banks would also reactivate their Visa/MasterCard and link them to the FCA versions of our accounts. My bank sent out zero communication about the whole FCA thing despite that they are a big international bank. So I still find the whole ring fencing episode confusing imagine how my grandmother is feeling about the whole thing.