Econet moves to ease cash shortages

HARARE - Zimbabwe's largest mobile telecommunication group Econet Wireless (Econet) says it has introduced an airtime credit service via its mobile money division in a move aimed at easing the acute cash shortages.

The country has been experiencing a biting cash shortage since early March with depositors queuing daily to get their money from banks. 

EcoCash general manager Natalie Jabangwe yesterday said the new innovation from Econet allows customers to use EcoCash or the EcoCash Application to borrow airtime from $0,30 to $0,75, depending on a customer’s historical usage of the mobile money service.

“Given the recent cash shortages being faced in Zimbabwe, this service makes it possible for EcoCash airtime subscribers to quickly purchase airtime in the case of an emergency. Repayments can always be made from EcoCash airtime purchases,” she said.

In response to the cash crisis financial institutions are slapping depositors with cash withdrawal limits. In these conditions, some subscribers are failing to recharge their phones in urgent situations.

In order to borrow airtime, subscribers are required to have an active line for three months and a minimum airtime balance of $0,05 at the time they want to borrow airtime.

“An EcoCash balance at the time a customer wants to borrow airtime is not a requirement to benefit from this service.

“All credit airtime advanced attracts a 10 percent service fee which is payable within seven days, on next airtime recharge,” Jabangwe said.

Econet chief executive Douglas Mboweni said the airtime credit service had been introduced to assist its customers who may sometimes be in urgent need of airtime to make calls.

“Understanding our customer behaviour and meeting their needs allows us to introduce trust based services that deliver value and unparalleled convenience,” Mboweni said.

The Econet boss said the Airtime Credit Service on EcoCash provided a one-stop shop for all of the group’s mobile money services EcoCash, EcoSure insurance and amongst others.

Ecocash Airtime Credit Service is an added innovation to the group’s airtime credit top-up facility which enables users to borrow airtime and repay after a top-up under similar conditions as the mobile money unit’s latest invention. 

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