Yesterday there was a bit of a relief when Ecocash sent out an SMS announcing that transaction limits had been lifted from the paltry $5 000 ZWL per transaction up to a more acceptable $20 000. This was long overdue, the arbitrary limits were making life difficult for the bulk of transacting public out there especially during the month-end periods when you had bills to pay.
Dear Valued CustomersWhat Ecocash had to say
The EcoCash transaction limits for all Payment services have been adjusted to ZW$20,000 per transaction up from the previous ZW$5,000 per transaction. This adjustment will be effective today, 25 August 2021 at 18:00hrs. The Limit adjustment will cover the following services where a
customer will now be able to pay up to ZW$20,000 in a single transaction:
Send Money transaction limits remain unchanged at ZW$5,000
per transaction with the weekly limit also remaining unchanged
It has been many months since the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in full agreement with the Zimbabwean government dealt a massive blow to Ecocash and other mobile operators with their restrictive limits. The central bank was angry and accused Ecocash of fuelling the black market and sabotaging the local ZWL currency. The bank also banned the use of agents.
The bank’s chokehold on Ecocash and other mobile money operators hasn’t really stopped the black market which has continued using platforms such as swipe and ZIPIT. This means that while the wider public has to go through hoops to make payments and navigate against the $35 000 ZWL limit, the intended targets have remained unscathed as they have simply moved on to other methods of payment.
While inflation has fallen, the truth is that prices are still going up. Thanks to various issues, such as ZIPIT not being widely adopted by companies, Ecocash, OneMoney and Telecash remain the most seamless ways to pay bills such as school fees, internet, water, buying airtime or Nyaradzo. While the limit of $35 000 ZWL is adequate during most weeks in the final week it is almost always not enough for most households.
I am thankful for the new $20 000 ZWL limit which means I no longer have to spend minutes paying the same bill using split payments. However, if you are like me, you find yourself having to choose which services to pay for using Ecocash and which ones will require you to trudge around town swiping. It’s either that or going the RTGS route.
Ecocash can make things too
It’s not just up to the government to make our lives easier by scrapping the current weekly limits or at least raise it to something more sensible like $100 000 ZWL. Ecocash can do something too. In the early days before the bond and ZWL came along, Ecocash had a physical MasterCard you could use in and outside Zimbabwe. It was very convenient and had generous limits.
All the other mobile operators besides Ecocash have their own ZimSwitch cards. I have used and loved the OneMoney card over the past year. It is an easy way to skirt around the mobile money transaction limits.