Zimbabwe’s second largest mobile money platform by subscriber numbers, OneMoney has been on a growth path. The service which is operated by NetOne is gaining some good traction.
In the past 3 months, NetOne reports that OneMoney has grown 97% from 215 000 subscribers to 425 000 subscribers. Although they are still quite small relative to EcoCash, the growth is remarkable all the same especially in a space with very strong network effects that favor whoever is already dominant.
Where is the growth coming from?
NetOne seems to attribute the bulk of the growth to their bulk payments service: OnePay. The NetOne Head of PR, Eldrette Shereni says:
The OnePay facility has been well received by several institutions including corporates mainly for salary and stipend payments, NGOs, farmers, as well as institutions that process grants and other social security payments only to mention a few
OnePay has large clients like the cotton company, Cottco which uses it to pay farmers that supply them. This is important to OneMoney because such arrangements mean a central player like Cottco brings all their downstream stakeholders as a group.
Mobile money growth is usually on the back of a wide network of agents and merchants such that people can use the money in the wallets without hustle. Without that, there is no way one can lure people. According to the financial report released by NetOne early this year, they have been prioritising expanding their reach and recruiting agents across the country.
Their merchant footprint is enhanced by the fact that OneMoney is integrated with ZIPIT and so customers can use their OneMoney debit cards wherever there is a Zimswitch POS terminal.
The integration with Zimswitch also means OneMoney customers can send and receive money from any local bank in one transaction and they don’t need to have a bank account to do this. This is of course different with EcoCash which has to be linked to a specific bank account and you can only send or receive from a bank in two separate transactions.
In a recent interview with Trevor Ncube, the NetOne CEO, Lazarus Muchenje said that OneMoney would be the biggest mobile money service in Zimbabwe in 24 months. This sounds quite ambitious especially if there is not going to be any regulator imposed interoperability.
One should not rule out any possibility in business obviously but I am quite skeptical they can pull this off. Let’s see what happens in the next 3 months.
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