Telecash & OneMoney are still issuing high-risk magstripe cards

Valentine Muhamba Avatar
Telecash One Money Magnetic Stripe Cards MagStripe

As far as I know, I have never owned a Telecel line and seeing as y’all were upset that I was “bashing” the country’s smallest mobile network operator for its 15% Teleceash bundle discount, I’ve decided to become a Telecel subscriber. Getting the line was simple enough and it’s cheaper than getting an Econet line which costs ZWL$150 as opposed to Telecel which is at ZW$100, plus you get a free ZWL$50 juice card.

So while I was getting my line and mobile money registered, the attendant asked me if I’d like a Telecash Gold card. I have been collecting lite accounts like a hoarder over the last year, so who was I to say no to another card. In my defence though, the Telecash swipe charges are pretty reasonable and like with my OneMoney wallet, I can send money to EcoCash diehards at a cheaper rate than they can send money to me… One wonders why the whole interoperability thing was such a big deal because not much has changed but that’s a story for another day.

Magstripe cards in 2021?

Anyway, while I was filling in the form I finally got a look at the card and well… it was a magstripe (Magnetic Stripe). Everyone and their grandmother know the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has over the years “encouraged” banks to convert to EMV Chip cards because they are far safer than the easily cloned magstripe cards.

What Are EMV Cards And Why The RBZ Wants Banks To Migrate To These

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in February 2019’s Monetary Policy Statement said the following about EMV Chip Card compliance

Further to the cyber security guidance, market participants are required to migrate to Euro MasterCard and Visa (EMV) standards to ensure enhanced card security features to curb cyber related activities. Currently, over 80% of the card infrastructure in the country is now EMV compliant. Financial institutions should therefore ensure that all cards issued in the market are EMV compliant by 31 March 2019.

2019 Monetary Policy Statement

To aid in the adoption of the safer EMV Chip cards (or Chip and Pin Cards) we have seen banks urge stragglers who still hadn’t made the switch. The last bank we know of to phase out magstripe cards was Steward Bank in March this year.

It’s not just Telecash, OneMoney is issuing them too

After getting my Telecash card I thought it would only be prudent to get one for OneMoney as well. And low and behold another magnetic stripe card. When I asked the attendant who served me why they haven’t made the switch to EMV chip cards, I was told that they had not arrived yet.

This little adventure of mine wouldn’t have been complete without a trip to EcoCash to see if they are still issuing mobile money debit cards. Well… to this end I was told that EcoCash had discontinued its debit cards and the only way you can access funds in your wallet via a card is through your bank account or if you don’t have one, you can open a Steward Bank account.

However, before EcoCash discontinued its debit cards they were issuing EMV chip cards

Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I went to Steward Bank to open a lite account just to make sure that it was EMV compliant and sure enough it was. The process, however, was no walk in the park, I really like that banks have started Digital KYC and onboarding because no one should be in a queue in this October heat.

Safety is the concern regardless of how many people use mobile money debit cards

There have been a litany of card cloning stories over the last half-decade or so. A lot of people have lost their money to people who can scan and reproduce magstripe cards.

Now, the argument is “with banks making it easier to open accounts who still uses mobile money as their primary financial service?” and fair enough however you’d be surprised to know that people are still queuing to open accounts at physical bank branches while many banks are allowing account opening via USSD or even on data free zero-rated apps.

By that logic and with how the news of these innovations has not travelled, it stands to reason that there are people who still depend quite heavily on mobile money. More so after the limits were addressed recently by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Continuing with that train of the, why are Telecash and OneMoney in 2021 still issuing cards that, by the RBZ’s measure, should have been phased out?

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  1. Anonymous

    I have a bank card which expires in 2024 with a strip… I won’t name as they always provide a good service..

  2. Obey Mthunzie

    No comment

    1. tjaymac

      Idzi dzinoshaya

      1. @Drupe

        problem you didnt understand soo you ust assumed that haisi mhosva yako

  3. Tae_Trinity_N

    Probably they already had a huge stock of magnetic strip cards, and they just want to sell all of them to retain their profit thereafter they will start issuing EMV cards.

  4. Anonymous

    Probably they already had a huge stock of magnetic strip cards, and they just want to sell all of them to retain their profit thereafter they will start issuing EMV cards.

  5. Captain Jack Sparrow

    With the transaction limits set by the reserve bank even if your card is cloned you cant cry tears of blood. This is just another sponspored article to make the other mobile networks seem like they are in the dark ages …grow up think of innovative stories instead of this gibberish journalism …if you dont have anything to post on your blog just keep quiet 🤪🤪🤪

  6. Anonymous

    NMB also still issuing such cards

  7. Voice of reason

    None of local cards being punted for high prices are EMV. They are zimbabwes own CPA program which uses a chip. But doesn’t strictly subscribe to EMV standards. (EMV is Eurocard, Mastercard, Visa).

    None of the cards these guys send to customers are Visa or Mastercard, so why should they require a chip that has not been verified by any international authority?!? Just sounds like someone wants to make money by claiming chip cards must be used.

    What a sellout website!!

    1. FocusedYouth

      What do you mean by “send to customers”??

  8. BaNyasha

    I have noticed that Zimbabwe Gvmt branches take their sweet time in implementation of great policies they will have out forward, and i guess that makes some other companies also lay back on the same.
    The question now should be, what would make a bank – say ZB, CABS, AgriBank ( those banks that usually carter for us the unemployed, self employed) – invest in a system upgrade that the majority of clients do not really need and the administrators do not even enforce?

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