Ecocash seeks bank link

By Alfonce Mbizwo, Harare, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s largest mobile phone operator, Econet Wireless, says it is seeking regulatory approval to link up banks to its successful mobile money transfer service, Ecocash.

Francis Matseketsa, a mobile money executive, told Biztechafrica at an e-payments forum in Harare today that Ecocash was working on a platform that would link up its platform and that of banks in the country.

“Users will be able to move cash from their bank accounts to their Ecocash wallet and vice-versa, all through their mobile phones.

“We are literally going to move people from the banking halls because they can also use the phone to make account payments as well. The banks are supporting the initiative and in the arrangement, they would then play the role of (Ecocash) agents,” he said.

He told the forum that Ecocash now had 1 900 agents countrywide and was still expanding the network.

It also has increased its subscriber base to 1, 8 million.

Last month, CEO, Douglas Mboweni said the platform has  transacted USD300 million worth of transfers since inception in 2011. Ecocash was now handling average monthly transactions of USD70 million.

Matseketsa said there was at least USD2 billion in Zimbabwe’s informal sector and Ecocash was bringing it into the formal banking system.

“Once one uses the Ecocash platform, that money is already in the formal banking sector, he said.

He refused to expand on the theme or banks involved, saying most of the issues were before the regulatory authorities.

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