You know the drill. Inflation is roaring and prices appear to be changing every day. Couple that with transaction limits on our preferred payment platforms and you can find yourself unable to pay for stuff, even when you have the money.
Yesterday, it was Zipit raising its limits, today it is EcoCash’s turn. EcoCash has been sending out the following text:
Send Money ZW$50k/transaction up to ZW$280,000/month or per day. Merchant & Bill Pay is ZW$100k/transaction up to ZW$400,000/month or per day.
Sending money to a friend? You can now send up to a maximum of ZW$50,000 per transaction.
The monthly limit is now ZW$280,000 but you can spend it all in one day, however you will have to transact multiple times because remember, a single transaction cannot exceed ZW$50,000.
If you’re paying for stuff, the maximum on merchant/ bill payments is now ZW$100,000 per transaction. You can only have four such transactions a month as the monthly limit is only ZW$400,000. Same as for Zipit.
Are these even increases?
The black market is fast approaching 1:1000 and here we are limiting people to ZW$400,000 per month. Using the black market rate, we are limiting people to less than US$450 per month. Even if we use the bank rate, that is only US$880.
One could argue that the average Zimbabwean does not make, let alone spend that much in a month. I imagine that’s how the regulators came up with that figure.
However, we have to remember that the high unemployment rate in this country has necessitated that everyone become an entrepreneur. People are trying to use these accounts/wallets to run their small informal businesses.
Are we to expect businesses to run with a cap of US$450. We recently found out that 64% of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in this country do not have bank accounts. So, services like EcoCash are essential.
But with a cap of US$450 on bill/ merchant payments, is it any wonder then that the informal economy has largely moved on from the formal financial sector.