What can you buy with the ZWL$5000 EcoCash limit?

Valentine Muhamba Avatar
OneMoney EcoCash mobile money

In abiding by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s directives, EcoCash has instituted a ZWL$5000.00 a day limit on transactions. The outline of how this will affect daily transactions is as follows:

“Transactions by all individuals shall be pegged at a maximum of ZWS5,000 (five thousand Zimbabwe dollars) per day with immediate effect. This threshold relates to all transactions by the individual. including;
a. Payments to merchants for goods and services and payments for utility bills
b. Send Money and purchase of airtime and data
c. EcoCash Debit Card
d. Wallet to bank transfers”


Looking at the above they have not only included how much money you can spend on goods and services but the amount of money that you can transfer within your own accounts (wallet to bank).

So what exactly can you do with the ZWL$5000.00?

I think we can all agree that in the event of an emergency, for example, someone needing medical attention or an unexpected expense, ZWL$5000 will surely not be enough. Consultation fees with practitioners, if one isn’t on medical aid or if the practitioner doesn’t accept the form of medical aid presented, will leave many who transact on mobile money with some issues. This also doesn’t include the money that will be needed for medication and any other things needed in the space of that day.

Basic goods and services

So how much can one buy with ZWL$5000.00 in groceries?

The figures we are going by are from ZimPriceCheck August 2020 grocery prices. The prices they listed were from selected stores and there are some outlets that they didn’t have prices for. These prices will vary from outlet to outlet, but it’s just to give us a rough idea of what ZWL5000.00 can buy.

Basic grocery needs:

Item Price (ZWL$)
Mealie-meal Refined 10kg479.99
Cooking Oil 2L249.99
Bread Lobels68.49
Flour 2kg239.99
Rice white/Long grain258.99
Salt 1kg46.99
Sugar 2kg212.79
Tissues (Pack of 4)99.99
Washing Powder 1kg331.89
Bath soap Jade 250g59.99
Green bar108.99
Petroleum Jelly 300ml141.29
Sanitary Pads 10s/8s89.20
Cheapest Drink129.99
Eggs 30399.99
Margarine 500g159.99
Milk 1L80.65
Toothpaste 100ml93.99
Tea 100 tea bags146.99
Bleach/Jik 750ml253.19
Jam 375ml97.99
Kapenta 500g487.99
Peanut butter 375ml136.99
Matches pack of 10 boxes44.99
Dish Washer 750ml121.69
Soup Usavi Mix 50g46.99
Tinned beans 410g77.99
Toilet Cleaner 500ml173.79
Scouring powder 500g26.79
Cereal (Cerevita) 179.99
Total 5 048.57

Just a little over the ZWL$5000 EcoCash limit.

There were no prices for perishables (Meat, Fruit and Vegetables).


Using Techzim’s ZESA Calculator ZWL$5000.00 will get you 1220.29kWh of electricity. A bit beyond what the average household will need, but there are those who may operate in light to medium industry, this may be a ballpark figure of the electricity they use.

The cost of fuel

If you are one of those fortunate enough to find a filling station that is selling fuel in RTGS, according to ZERA’s most recent price listing, the cost of petrol is ZWL$93.15 per litre and Diesel is $83.36 per litre. So for ZWL$5000.00 will get you 53.68 Litres of petrol and 59.98L of diesel.

Well, again that’s if you are lucky to come across a service station that is selling fuel in local currency.

Mobile data and home internet

For most mobile data (as well as airtime) packages, when the limit is looked at in isolation to them, aren’t really affected. The problem comes with some ZOL nad TelOne packages that exceed ZWL$5000.00, those look like they may have to be paid in part until the balance for the package is reached. This means that payments for these packages may have to be planned out well in advance. They will also have to planned around other payments.


This EcoCash ZWL$5000.00 limit restricts financial freedom on mobile money. The value of the ZWL$5000 in goods and services goes beyond the things listed above. Other things not covered are things like rent, school fees, medical insurance, vehicle registration, transport costs and many others.

The limit will change how people use mobile money. The alternative when faced with a large transaction or set of transactions will be to pay them off in parts. Another situation that could arise is being near or at the limit and then facing an expense like electricity. That means if there is no other alternative to mobile money then that payment will have to be made the next day.

This restriction could also see more people adopt (on top of conventional banking platforms) the use of cash, USD to specific. Some people could adopt the use of USD to avoid the limit as well as to sidestep the 2% Tax (which applies to bank card as well). This, however, is for those who have the USD, to begin with, and that doesn’t cover everyone.

It’s also worth mentioning that this limit also affects Telecash and OneMoney.


What’s your take?

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  1. wyners

    And these one sided stories,. Please also tell people that they can open up bank accounts and these days people can open up instant mobile bank accounts with mycash (available at all pnp shops) , CBZ and CABS also linked to your mobile numbers. Please dont give the impression it’s the end of the world

    1. Anonymous

      The writer has a hidden agenda.The writer instead of wasting his energy writing those high sounding nothing should has advised people to open instant bank accounts and simply swipe for everything that was written

      1. Percivial

        There is no hidden agenda my friend Anonymous. We are living in a digital word where i can buy for WiFi using online systems. Banks do not support such a system as of now and why do i have to travel to swipe for my internet when i used to pay it in the comfort of my home?

    2. Wanda

      Have you asked yourself why mobile money accounts are more than the accounts of all banks put together??

      1. khumbulani mpofu

        How does one fund ecocash in the first place. Why would someone do bank to wallet for the purpose paying groceries, does it mean shops cant take swipe.

        1. Chinyaride

          Life styles are going backwards instead of improving…its time they should revise limits upwards and address key fundamentals like just dismissing the minister of finance….as well as his governor….period!!

  2. wyners

    These one sided stories,.please also tell ppl that they can open up instant bank accounts with mycash ( available at all pnp stores), CBZ and cabs, and these behave like mobile wallets. Its not the end of the world

    1. Anonymous

      There are many ‘unbanked’ people in Zimbabwe/Africa. Due to factors such as not having the documents required to meet the ‘Know Your Customer’ principle.
      That is why mobile money had become popular in Africa

  3. Anonymous

    There are many ‘unbanked’ people in Zimbabwe/Africa. Due to factors such as not having the documents required to meet the ‘Know Your Customer’ principle.
    That is why mobile money had become popular in Africa

    1. Anonymous

      Getting a Mycash card in pick and pay is less KYC stringent than buying a SIM card,.with CBZ smartcash your mobile number is actually your account number and u get a nice noname ATM card that u can swipe with. The digital banking solutions that behave like wallets are there people need to be told abt them rather than saying it’s the end of the world because of what’s happening with ecocash. The weird thing is it’s the ‘banked’ or those with access to banking solutions that are actauly on the frontline of being disappointed with the ecocash changes. A real unbanked person in the ‘3rd world’ part of africa is really not affected by this which are those that cant afford to spend 5k rtgs (50usd) per day, the so called unbanked are those that are living on 1usd per day. If u can afford to spend or transact 50usd per day m sure meeting some of these so called stringent KYC requurements from banks shldnt be an issue.

  4. musa kato

    People don’t really have trust im banks,and Zimbabwe banking systems are the worst in the world, you cannot go to deposit 20$ and spend 3 hours in line waiting to deposit that little money and the reality people don’t have money to keep in banks , they eat what they earn, they must just say that its now only usd used then people know they don’t have the hustle of converting currencies but right now its only sensible to convert into mobile money since that all supermarkets have their own rates when using usd , some supermarkets will tell you that they use the official government rate and something that costs 2$ tgey want you to pay 4$,you cannot now send money to your family in rural areas, mobile money is cheaper, this is just a disaster. How can decisions like these being made without a solution,it just hurts the poor of the poorest, those who have money don’t have a problem to pay in usd, its sad but this was the only type of payment that reach to everyone. most countries are going into mobile banking and here it’s being destroyed without another alternative to the poor

  5. Anonymous

    No one has addressed the rural and marginalised families who RELY on money sent via Ecocash for essentials at small stores. THERE ARE NO BANKS in these areas. So this is absolutely senseless. Mobile money transactions work brilliantly in Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya … only here it seems there is some sort of agenda

    1. Concerned Citizen

      The rural and marginalised families can still receive $5000 per day via ecocash and they can still spend $5000 per day.

  6. Audrey

    People should open bank accounts. Most banks now have cards that are KYC lite where one only needs to have a copy of their ID to open. The cards can be opened for free and there are no administrative charges on them. This article is one sided it does not tell people of the alternatives that are available. It is designed to spread doom and despair among the people.

  7. Imi vanhu musadaro

    It’s the poor KYC, that mobile wallets have, that made it a haven for nefarious actors. Besides, to concur with the above, you can also just open a bank account and keep your money there, instead of sitting in a corner crying.

  8. Jones

    The main problem is uncertainty and central govt’s dictatorial form of governance to these types of issues. Everything in this country is announced with a restrictive, siege mentality. “We are IMMEDIATELY stopping this thing that most people had come to rely on”. Tomorrow, this kind of previously legal thing is now with immediate effect,banned and any criminal found continuing with this 2 minutes from now will be severely dealt with.

    Govt has to change this drastic, harsh attitude towards things that affect people. You can literally do the exact same thing but with political sensitivity. Phase it in. Go on an awareness campaign like they did in early days of Covid-19. Inform the public what is happening, the consequences and therefore the need for these restrictive measures. Then simultaneously present alternatives via media campaigns. Like the stupid songs people sing about in awareness campaigns. It’s simply a different attitude that can both create certainty and cooperation.

    The other problem is this nation is 99% corrupt. Not as govt. Like the population itself. People justify corruption by escaping with “it’s the govt’s fault”. No we are a corrupt people who can’t do anything in a straightforward manner. Whether it’s Econet, the Ministry of Finance, a church, poor people, rich people. So literally everything in the country is done with self centred motives. There’s clearly economic sabotage going on, deliberate or consequential. The govt is sabotaging the economy for short sighted self centered reasons and everyone is doing the same. Profiteering in a shrunken economy with high levels of poverty is the highest form of economic corruption. That’s why you get companies like ZOL who are given access to foreign currency from central bank rates, charging the kind of prices that make sense in Monaco or Luxembourg.

    So naturally you get a very unstable situation in which no one is willing to take the effects of their actions on others. It’s always “me,me,me”. We have banned multiple Ecocash Accounts IMMEDIATELY. Is this the kind of action taken by someone who is thinking about how this negatively impacts people? A sober, compassionate person would look at the consequences first and try to mitigate them, then roll out the solution in a manner that doesn’t give room for these Doomsday articles.

    We are a mess

  9. Chigas

    Agreed, writer has a hidden agenda. You can’t be buying petrol, zesa etc, zesa for instance you can only buy it once per month, petrol also it’s not purchased daily. Say your point than wasting our time reading this nonsense.

  10. Andy

    Its all madness by RBZ apana chimwe. Right now l am in Harare was presented with a 9,025 medical bill for my pensioner dad from his doctor who sent him to the lab for covid per wat wat tests 13,500. I have to pay 1,100 for xray. I have to pay 5,700 for his athritis condition and l am told to only use 5,000. Its nonsensical pure nonsense on yellow stilletos. .

    1. Chikandamina

      Unonyepa iwe.Why do you want your maney muococash Account.Which doctor or medical facility is that which does not take swipe.

      How do you earn your money that gives you problems to spend.Only money changer had a problem with the new regulation.

      If you are real and honest you will never have a problem in spending your money in any way whatsoever.Learn to be straight forwar and practice correct ways of dealing with money no matter in what form it is in.

  11. Wu Mao

    “I think we can all agree that in the event of an emergency, for example, someone needing medical attention or an unexpected expense, ZWL$5000 will surely not be enough. ” Guys, where is the ‘hidden agenda’ you are seeing? Did we read the same thing? All i see is an article contextualising what one MAY be able to do within the limit.

    Honestly, some of these comments feel like they are a part of a ’50zwl Army’ op!😂

  12. Anonymous

    Absolutely nonsense

  13. Farai Mutambanengwe

    Mobile money was initiated and passed as a financial inclusion tool, i.e. something for the bottom-of-pyramid people to use. It was also meant to be a cash substitute, not a bank account substitute. Not only that, but they had even extended to lending and creating money.

    There are many regulations and supervisions made on banks to ensure safety of depositors’ funds. Those same safeguards are not present on mobile money. If Ecocash collapses tomorrow, you will all be on government’s doorstep, yet Ecocash does not contribute to the deposit protection fund. Neither is it regulated like banks. So the regulations that have been imposed now mitigate those risks.

    As many have said, one can – and should – open a bank account. Even kumusha there are nearby banks with KYC-lite accounts. There are also POS machines everywhere now. Keep your money in a bank and move it to your wallet as and when there is a need.

  14. VivaTV

    I can’t stop reading your posts, all or your links are working because I’ve been on your site forever. I’ve learned so much, thanks!

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