Econet partners MasterCard in mobile money transfer

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s largest wireless network operator,  Econet has unveiled an international debit card linked to its mobile money transfer facility, Ecocash, in partnership with MasterCard.

The move is part of the telecommunications group’s escalated efforts to increase financial inclusion through Ecocash, particularly in the country’s thriving informal market.

As much as $7 billion is estimated to be circulating outside Zimbabwe’s formal economy, according to Bankers Association of Zimbabwe. Ecocash chief executive officer Cuthbert Tembedza said the new debit card is aimed at enhancing transacting convenience and broaden financial inclusivity.

“Partnerships with international schemes like MasterCard have been a preserve of the rich, for the top class and we want to demystify that. We want to create inter-operability between grandmother in the village and Barack Obama in the United States,” he said.

Tembedza added that the card reduces the risks of carrying large sums, the chip and pin code on the card cannot be cloned. “This is the only MasterCard linked to your mobile phone. People will still have the choice of purchasing goods in shops using their mobile phones and cash. The debit card is an additional choice that adds convenience,” he said.

He noted that one is able to quickly load his or her Ecocash wallet and use the Mastercard to shop anywhere in the world. The card will cost Ecocash subscribers $2 to access and transaction fees range between 30 cents and $2,45. Ecocash will roll out 3,5 million debit cards whose transactions will be underwritten by Steward Bank, Econet’s banking subsidiary.

To date, Steward Bank has been processing more than $350 million transactions for Ecocash per month. This comes as Econet recently partnered Europe-based money transfer firm WorldRemit to launch a cash remittance service expected to earn about $600 million annually.

Darlington Mandivenga, Econet Services chief executive, said the service, Ecocash Diaspora, will function in the 34 countries that WorldRemit is currently operating. “This product will be servicing anyone who is registered on Ecocash,” he said.

Last year, Econet ventured into the mobile money transfer business by launching Ecocash, which allows remittances between locals and residents in South Africa.

The group’s subsidiary, Steward Bank, has also unveiled cash remittance services targeted at the Diaspora. Launched in October 2011, Ecocash has reached in excess of 4,2 million users and has processed over $4 billion worth of transactions.

Comments (5)

Well done Econet

Hazvie - 31 July 2014

Exxxxxellent job Econet. You are at the forefront of technology while others are boasting about keeping chickens

Peter Hama - 31 July 2014

Vely gudhu. Ndo-o devhelpmentka iyi

selele - 1 August 2014

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