Old Mutual launches O’mari a mobile wallet and platform

Tinashe Nyahasha Avatar

Recently, Old Mutual Zimbabwe launched a fintech business, Old Mutual Digital Services. On the evening of 23 May 2023, this new business launched its flagship product and brand, O’mari (pronounced oow mari as in “o mari iyi sha – receive this money, my guy“).

What is O’mari?

O’mari is a mobile wallet, yes mobile as in mobile money. The wallet is accessible via mobile app, WhatsApp and USSD code *707#. Subscribers can send or receive money to and from each other, they can buy airtime, and pay bills. Stuff we have come to expect from mobile wallets.

So what is different about O’mari?

When we first heard of the launch we were like, “Hmm yet another wallet?” The concern is always how any new such service will distinguish itself and capture people’s attention. The O’mari team seems to have thought about this and they have built in some features that are not yet out there out of the gate.

Leveraging the insurance background of their parent, O’mari incorporates some micro-insurance services:

FoodCare: When one subscribes for this and pays premiums which are as low as US$0.90 per month their family will get monthly groceries for between one year and five years when the subscriber dies.

SchoolCare: This is similar to FoodCare except that when the subscriber dies their child or children will have their school fees or part of school fees paid by Old Mutual every term for between a year and five years. Premiums start at US$0.90 per month as well.

The above two products may attract people’s attention. I think we Zimbabweans are a bit morbid. We do try to sort out our affairs and plan for the taking care of our families when we kick it. The pricing seems accessible. Of course, we will want to see the fine print before we can make an opinion on whether this is a good deal or not.

HealthCare: This is a health benefit that comes as an add-on when you are subscribed to either of the above two products for at least four months and the benefits depend on how much you transact on the O’mari platform.

Other O’mari features

The platform has two wallets ZWL and USD. This is now an expected thing in Zim really. The ZWL wallet comes with a Zimswitch card and the USD wallet with a Visa card. You can pick up either card from any of the O’mari physical channel partners and then activate it on the O’mari digital channels. The team promises to add investments type stuff to the platform soon as well.

Most important thing for mobile money

Any mobile money service can only have a chance of success if it has a good network of agents where people can cash in and out. This is particularly true in Zim right now because mobile money has retrogressed to 2011 where it’s about the transmission of cash from one end of the country to the other above anything else.

O’mari is starting with a solid network for cash in and out. They have partnered with OK Zimbabwe, TM Pick n Pay, SPAR, N Richards and Metro Peech. Of course, Old Mutual offices and CABS branches add to that network. This gives the service a decent initial footprint, above 130 outlets on my count.

Will O’mari win?

It’s still too early to call this one. What they did well was to incorporate unique features into the service. If the market is interested in these, this gives them a chance. Old Mutual is also a deep-pocketed behemoth that could use brute force to push this. Generally with digital products, this is far from a guarantee; if the product sucks, people will not care and many a company has thrown money away only to delay the inevitable.

We will keep playing around with the service and we will be sharing more over the next few days and weeks.

See the launch of O’Mari in pictures here.

Also read:

InnBucks now giving loans, here is everything you need to know about them

EcoCash USD debit card 2.0. It does online payments now

70 comments

  1. What

    Competition: I think Zimbabwe has too many banks and fintec companies for the size of its population. Imagine the number of banks in Canada is much less than Zimbabwe. What gives?

    1. Gamu Nyamuda

      Good point but are we not seeing. Industry is disaggregated but are we not seeing consolidation in banking sector.

    2. Gamu Nyamuda

      Good point. From what I see there is some consolidation happening in financial services as bigger banks take over smaller ones.

  2. Learning Disabled

    Hezvo! Zimbabwe dollar spiraling into dizzy oblivion:

    100*(1,404.8039 – 1,888.0119 )/1,404.8039 = -34.4% The ZWL fell 34.4% since last Tuesday on the RBZ forex auction.

    Compared Last wek it had depreciated by 15.8%.

    Zimbabwe treasuary, take it easy on the ZWL electronic printing press! You don’t want to repeat the Zimbabwe Dollar notes in trillions of dollars denomination.

  3. rjcdube

    Old Mutual is back for cash grabs again.

  4. Nice Name

    I don’t know about the business case for this, but damn, surely copy writers and creative directors all over Him and diaspora must be kicking themselves for not coming up with O’mari! I know I am😂

    1. Nice Name

      Lol! What an auto-correct!

    2. Nice Name

      The comment sections for both articles have been a fascinating little look into the world of ‘Influence campaigns’, a topic typically reserved for use with matters much weightier than peddling commercial products and services. Then why bring it up? Its interesting to talk shop once in a while, and since this is a mostly open forum, why not! Anyway, I’m just a lowly pixel pusher in the ad industry, so its nice to exercise the knowledge my thick head has absorbed through osmosis over the years. Here are a couple of my observations.

      If you use or do something enough times, it becomes second nature. A mechanic can diagnose by minute vibrations, a painter can judge oil paints by the smell, a font freak can identify a sans serif typeface from half a letter etc. I have read and executed a lot of briefs, and by looking at one part of a campaign, I can infer what the brief might have been. Going through the comments, I can sense what the imperatives might have been:
      Foment positive sentiment for OM, the company and OM, the product by emphasising the marketing keystones of both, ie, the colours of the cards, the affordability, the innovation etc
      Make OM more approachable by positioning it as the plucky segment underdog bringing perceived choice and competition in comments
      Guide organic conversations away from OM’s negative past but keep direct confrontation to a minimum. Conflict can perpetuate strong but negative engagement!
      Be relatable to the generations too young to have 1st hand experience of OM’s interesting past ventures (after all, the bitter generations that built OM’s massive investment and property portfolio are finally approaching statistical irrelevance)
      Be sure to embody the voices of each of our ‘Marketing Personas’ ie Mai Dee, aka Mai Two. ‘She works hard at her SME to supplement her family income and ensure her kids are in the best schools she can afford. She lives in a new medium density development, with her home still under construction at the roof level. She is thrifty though, so she made sure to save on rent by building a small cottage first. The one area of her life she has always been willing to spend on is the future of her kids’. Adrenalin3000 is another. ‘Adi is a 34 year old man who has always found a way to hustle and survive. Where a lot of his friends chose the diaspora, he decided long ago Zimbabwe was best as he could always sniff out opportunities. He has calmed down a bit since his youth and though times are tough, he feels he is on track to hit most of the benchmarks he set for himself. Unfortunately, he has never really given much thought to his longterm future and what could happen to his loved ones when he is gone. Recent tragedy close to home has opened his eyes to the need to put things in place to protect his family’s future, putting him on the market for solutions.’ If you have pitched enough campaigns or had campaigns pitched to you, you know these personas well😂

      This is all par for the course in this age, however, the naked execution felt off and therefore manipulative to me. The Personas FELT like personas, timing of the posts was interesting to say the least, the tone and attempts to paint a picture in the way a copywriter would… it just felt off!

      Anyway, this was just a cross between a mental exercise and a critique session so don’t mind me if I’m seeing dragons where there are flies😅 Occupational hazard! We now return to your regularly scheduled programmes!

  5. T

    I will forever stay away from old mutual, this band of thieves,mbavha, matsotsi,makruku is at it again trying to steal as much as they can only to guarantee you that your loved ones will have a decent time after you are gone.
    The only reason they’re saying after you are gone is because hapanna anenge akukwanisa kuita nharo kut ndozvataka nyorerana pasi, vanenge vakungoita zvavanzwa kuda sezvavarikuita kma pension fund.
    Old Mutual only wants your money zvekuzodzora mari izvo kunyepa ahidzoke mari.
    old mutual igomba remari ikapinda ahibude zvachose
    old Mutual is a registered pyramid scheme
    There’s absolutely no difference between it and E.creator or whatever
    These people are assholes and deserve to dwell in hell

    1. Nice Name

      Back in the day, my dad took early retirement package (before it became retrenchment) and invested in whatever funds OM was pushing in those days. I don’t think he got more than a few months before it all went to hell. He is working to this day. Old Mutual is dripping in blood money as far as I’m concerned.

  6. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    Long term benefits are not appealing to the average Zimbo. Currency and policy changes have burnt people too many times and OM has been one of the many “oh, it’s not our fault, it’s the environment” businesses which come out sterlingly on top whilst their clientele take it up the butt.

    Perhaps when the benefits are quantified, it may seem to have a some sort of purpose in this flailing economy.

  7. Bounty hunter

    I will always stay away from these guys .. old mutual its a NO take for better continue with innbucks, ecocash etc

  8. Leader of the Youths

    Haaa isu taneta ne ecocash yacho inodhura zvisina basa. Takaenda takaenda ku Old Mutual ikoko

  9. Mother of Nations

    I have used the wallet and believe it’s the much needed competition we have been waiting for.Very affordable and one can send money to anyone in zim registered or not.Well done Old Mutual for bringing this game changer into the market.At least now we have a choice.

  10. Snipes

    characterised by a few players that have been consistent in disappointing customers. We welcome the green giant, a brand that has stood the test of time will surely bring the much needed sanity. Old Mutual’s compelling value proposition is really promising!

  11. Mambare

    They have the money to grease the operation, I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us. They have a bank, an insurance company, and real estate. Could be interesting to see how they mix all that together.

  12. Snipes

    The fintech & mobile money space in Zim has for a long time been characterised by a few players that have been consistent in disappointing customers. We welcome the green giant, a brand that has stood the test of time will surely bring the much needed sanity. Old Mutual’s compelling value proposition particularly the Healthcare, Schoolcare and Foodcare is surely coming to disrupt the landscape!

  13. Anonymous

    Congrats Old Mutual, you have brought much needed competition in mobile money, finally, customers have a choice!!!……….FoodCare n SchoolCare products are very affordable, starting from less than a US$1 per month, that’s the definition of affordable and the benefits are tangible.

  14. Mai Dee

    As a parent, irikunzi Schoolcare iyo makes sense. Hatiziye musi nenguva, better kuzofa hako uchiziva kuti even when you’re gone, pa school fees apo vana will be sorted.

    And for mari dzacho ma $1, $2 .. it’s worth it. Well played Old Mutual

    1. Clive Bukhosi

      Taurai henyu mai Dee, school-care iyo smells yummy, let’s just wait and see whether the economy will work in this OMari thing favor. Otherwise, I find that lucrative.

  15. Anonymous

    Props to Old mutual for solving everyday problems, affordable solutions to cater for everyone.

  16. Mabureki eZimbabwe

    Over the past few hours, l have been going through O’mari channels i.e USSD, Mobile App and Whatsapp. Im loving the user expirience. This is one of the seamless and frictionless mobile money platform in Zimbabwe. I pray econet doesn’t sabotage pa USSD apo.

  17. Clive Bukhosi

    Well well, here we go again. Another product. At least this one is backed by a big gun, better 2 than 1 ecocash. This will surely well in the favor of the customer, I am looking forward to a price war.
    Their products look unique enough for someone who is looking beyond the Zim nonsense economy to say this is not such a bad deal, especially the SchoolCare deal, that sounds like a healthy. Let’s wait and see.

  18. Fair trade

    Tanga tanzwa nemamonopoly there is now competition for Ecocash. Well played by the green giant sisonke!

  19. 9pm Shift

    Holy 50c Army Batman! Did the spin team get mobilised for a coordinated strategic counterstrike or did the spin team get mobilised for a coordinated strategic counterstrike? I’m so not sure 🤣

    1. zimbhoo

      pamwe pacho kana pagonekwa bvumai veduwee

      1. 9pm Shift

        It’s ok wangu, I understand. Just don’t forget to log overtime and take screenshots for performance review 📸

  20. Shax

    I’m excited , I won’t need to have my card or phone to make a payment.I can still purchase my groceries so long my Omari wallet is funded. All I need is just my phone number
    Amazing staff .

  21. Purple

    Shame on Old Mutual and its sock puppets. Did Old Mutual contact the work to that new pyramid scheme in Zimbabwe?

    1. USP Spam

      I think so🤣 But seriously, the company that allegedly makes its living on making fake reviews got out-commented by a company that makes its living by doing everything it can not to pay out except when it comes to fake comments🤣 How does that work?!

  22. Jumbo

    Mynhu anofanira kungorongeka so. Imagine just ne $1 vana vanosara vachiwana food ne Food care yacho.

  23. Anonymous

    I got my favourite O’mari card colour – white.

  24. I SAID IT

    My two cents tells me that this thing is history in the making. Taneta nekumonopolizwa muno and its not fair zvatinomboitwa🤐🤐🤐…but chilly, time time I somewhat understood from the little that I saw kuti O’mari chii. Congrats Old Mutual🫡

  25. Adrenaline3000

    The way I am looking at this made me realise that there are things I really never thought about at my age, and being a 34 year old parent, I am always thinking that I am immortal. Last week we buried our uncle and I saw relatives steal money from his funeral policy…so uncouth😮‍💨😮‍💨. But seeing this gave me goosebumps. The Schoolcare and foodcRe stuff seem like good products, I am quiet keen to find out more about them.

  26. Da vince

    We had this before my brother had three accounts for his children’s education and non benefited his children, in an unstable economic environment we have its folly to go for long term policies, its beta to invest in gold or stocks, old mutual gave pensioners peanuts during dollarization, they dont have a good record of walking the talk, they are big for their shareholders not policy holders, i dont see an competition for econet here

    1. L. Snipes

      It is important to do your research well, before just “assuming”. The care products are available in USD only & this counters the economic stability issues raised. OM remains with the biggest pension book in the land & its General Insurance arm boasts of leading the industry by GWP…surely this is a trusted brand! You are definitely not Leornado & dont earn fortunes from paintings…get yourself an Omari wallet & thank me later🤭

      1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

        Lol. What happens if USD is removed as legal tender? Having the biggest pension book is irrelevant when management salaries are prioritised over pension payouts. Their insurance policies are quite outdated if you even just compare to neighbouring SA, let alone any other progressive country. Your talk is from an investment perspective, not from a customers.

    2. Anonymous

      Hahahahaha, remove emotions, mention one company which didnt give pensioners peanuts during dollarisation, its not about Old Mutual, its the economy at large. Care products are in USD, so your concern is covered anyway. Go ahead and sign up n thank me later.

      1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

        Many companies/people did it is the weakest defence anyone can give. Does it make it right then? No, not by a long shot.

    3. Granny

      So true here. Mmmm pension was due at 55 years $11k usd then changes in the economy and that was equivalent to a few hundred dollars!! Imagine, after a lifetime of contributions in usd u get peanuts. Watching from the terrace for now. M really looking for a good investment for my grandchildren.

  27. Gamu Nyamuda

    I attended the launch. It’s a different kind of wallet. Always just negative comments, we need innovation. May the best man or in this case wallet win kkkk

  28. Zimbabwean

    Welcomed move! Competition is always a good thing.

  29. Ok

    Hmmm im doubting this school thing. I mean if you consider this carefully. You are paying 90c per month and after 10 years how much will this be if summed up. I think that’s why they said they will pay for your fees during a period of 1-5 years. Thats means after 10 years, they will pay your fees for one year. Just an assumption.

    1. Anonymous

      Old mutual is into the investing business, your 90c and mine and others’ will buy whole loads of shares in companies like Econet etc and other properties. Remember Old mutual is not only in this forsaken country of ours.

      1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

        So, in your right mind, you think you’ll pay $10.80 a year and get how many years of fees for a let’s say $200 a term school?

  30. Chipo H

    Definitely joining this. I’ve managed to register paUSSD

  31. Abel Moyo

    Interesting comments , just watched the launch video online , Omari will be good for customers overall , this is a space that needed competition. We can’t rely on one or few players. I like the attempt to address society issues at a very affordable price. We can’t keep blaming the economy forever and still not address the real issues at hand , we need to plan for the future of our children and families , this is a need that remains despite the volatility in the economy. Atleast this is USD business. I was going to be worried if SchoolCare and FoodCare were in ZWL

  32. Sisi VaAno

    Zvakanaka izvi neni ndinoda…

  33. 2BG

    Great initiative there. My 2 cents on Schoolcare & Foodcare – I was just thinking why not giving it a maturity period where someone can withdraw from the fund even they are still alive. Given our Zim situation, you may wake up jobless & failing to pay fees for your children talkless of the subscriptions – I think one should then be able to withdraw from this fund. The same applies for FoodCare

    1. Granny

      I concur with you here. Hope they will reconsider or some other players will come in and offer that

  34. Chiremera

    Varume mainzwa here new product from Old Mutual inonzi O’ mari.
    It takes care of groceries and school fees to your family in the event of the unfortunate plus it acts as a medical aid and it gives u a visa card as well.
    O’mari sub’s are in USD.
    Pamberi neOld Mutual

    1. Anonymous

      The only problem about Zim is policy inconsistencies. U cannot predit what 2moro brings, imagine u may wake up with Statutory Instrument which bans the use of US$ & all usd to be converted using availed rate by the RBZ & Min of Finance. How will you deal with it? For me, anything long term is not guaranteed in Zim, the changes are just too much. But for transactions, yes we dont mind giving it a try. But pa SchoolCare, HealthCare, Foodcare apo, inini i am out

  35. Tafara Ziramba

    Cheap

  36. Ngonidzashe

    How much are the charges per transaction for online payments with the VISA card

  37. Simbarashe Madhabha

    I just Zipped my money but can’t buy airtime with this Omari thing.

  38. Calif

    Hi

  39. Anonymous

    How much are the charges per transaction?

  40. Washington

    I have transferred a certain amount of money using omari mobile and didn’t get thru what might be the problem or else what numbers can I call to get a help

  41. Angry customer

    I am so disappointed in Omari. My dad sent me money through Omari last week, I’ve been trying to collect it but, they will be saying we don’t any cash float, or there are network issues. I was supposed to use that money urgently but now I’m suffering yet I have the money in my mobile. Even if I try to transfer it to any ecocash account or bank account,they have to ask the reason for the payment 😏, and all the times the transaction fails. I’m so disappointed,I’m not happy. Omari is not even reliable!

  42. Zimbabwean

    Omari is not reliable!
    I wouldn’t advise anyone who wants their money urgently to use it. Omari is ******!

  43. king

    can transfer money from your cabs account to ‘O’ mari wallet?

  44. Nyasha Johani

    Good platform but the problem is you dont have a direct cell number for to call for any problems we face?

    1. Tinashe Nyahasha

      Hi Nyasha, do you mean number for Techzim or you mean number for O’Mari?

  45. Timetravellerswife33

    Does the visa card receive funds from out of zim??

    1. Anonymous

      I don’t know. They do not advertise it this way though so most likely it doesn’t

  46. MUBHEMI

    the card activation is giving problems,may you rectify

  47. Mr brown

    Can you send money from Omari USD to your Ecocash USD

  48. Mathamsanqa

    Cam you use it to send money outside Zimbabwe

  49. calisto nyaguyo

    good day where can i get omari card

  50. Tirivanhu Dzivakwi

    Will O Mari reverse a transaction if need arises

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