When it comes to accepting local payments automatically in your app or your eCommerce store, Paynow has been the go-to for most developers for years. They were a godsend to most people given how hard it is to access the official OneMoney, Telecash and Ecocash APIs back then. Shockingly, it is still very hard to get access to these APIs even now.
Last year, the RBZ presented a problem. In their fights with mobile money operator, Ecocash, whom they accused of fostering the foreign currency black market, they restricted Ecocash transactions to 5 000 ZWL per transaction. That’s not normally a problem during most days but for most people, it presents challenges, especially during month-end when you have bills to pay.
Take for example a business like ours where we sell ZESA tokens. Thanks to the constant ZESA tariffs hikes, there are a lot of households out there that buy tokens that exceed this limit. At least with ZESA you can always buy multiple tokens in succession. What if you wanted to buy your groceries online? Month-end groceries often exceed $10 000 ZWL in value for most households. The same applies if you are buying or selling a phone and want to accept local payment methods. Even budget phones like the Redmi 9A go for more than $15 000 ZWL. That’s thrice the current single transaction limit.
Paynow to the rescue
Thankfully, there is a solution. As part of a reprieve last year the RBZ introduced a generous $35 000 ZWL weekly limit for Ecocash and other mobile money wallets, although the transaction limit is still $5 000 ZWL. Paynow has now implemented a solution where, if the final bill total is more than $5 000 ZWL you can pay the bill in split transactions thanks to Ajax tricks.
If you are a store owner there is nothing you need to do, although you might want to alert your customers to this possibility. As a customer you need to follow these steps when you are checking out of an online store that accepts multi payments:
- After putting in details of your payment, click “Pay on Paynow”, and NOT “Express Checkout on Paynow/OneMoney”
- After signing in to Paynow, select Ecocash as your mode of Payment, then select “Make Payment”
- Put in your Ecocash number, after which you’ll get a disclaimer indicating your payment is above the ZWL$5,000 limit but can proceed with multipart payments.
- After selecting the multipart option, Paynow will break it down into multiple payments, each with the option to click “Pay” when ready
- After clicking “Pay” on each option, the customer gets an Ecocash push notification on their phone to authenticate the payment via their Ecocash pin
- When done, the customer will click the next payment and follow the same process until their all done and completed
NB: Multipart payments at the moment are only available on EcoCash but OneMoney is a work in progress
Now waiting for ZIPIT from Paynow.
This is awesome work from Paynow, but I cannot wait for them to implement ZIPIT payments. A lot of people prefer this method of payment when dealing with large amounts. It makes for a much more seamless experience. ZimSwitch introduced smart payments and a merchant system akin to that of mobile money operators not so long ago. It would be interesting if this can be leveraged to create online gateways.
It will also be nice if they can have a system where you just enter your Zimswitch card number and banking pin in order to make the payment. To secure the whole thing, they can just send an OTP to the associated account number. Nigeria has a system like this, and it’s pretty awesome.
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