Zimbabweans love their DStv and are often willing to go to the black market to get the foreign currency needed to pay the subscription. At one point the RBZ revealed that on average Zimbabweans spend about US$45 million every six months on DStv subscriptions alone. Now there is a bit of good news for those tired of paying black market rates you can now pay for your DSTV subscription at the official rate!
A few months ago the RBZ said they were going to be opening up the foreign currency auction to the wider public via Bureau de Changes and it seems they are starting to deliver on that promise. A remittance company called Conti-Pay which also doubles as a Bureau de Change is now allowing Zimbos to pay for DSTV using the official “bank rate” i.e. the auction rate.
Their process is automated and makes use of a WhatsApp bot. To pay for your DSTV you need to follow these steps. First, you save the Bot’s number to your phone. You can do this automatically by scanning the QR code above or you can just save the number 0788 788 020 manually.
You can then send a WhatsApp message that says Hi to this number. You will then be asked for your ID number, full name and smartcard number. The poster seems to suggest that you will need to send a copy of your ID as well. I wouldn’t know, I don’t have a DSTV to subscribe to. I cut the cord a while back.
This is the RBZ trying to tame the black market rate
The biggest reason why there is a gulf between the official and unofficial rate is that access to the auction is restricted. Only the well-connected companies that know bigwigs have unfettered access. The wider public has to make do with the black market where you are free to buy whatever amount you want without answering a bunch of invasive questions.
By allowing the public to access foreign currency for at least some popular foreign currency requirements the Bank is hoping to ease pressure and reliance on the black market. This will at least slow down the rates climb a bit. It will be interesting to see how long the RBZ can keep this up though. That will be the difference between them succeeding or failing.
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