Cash Shortages Cripple Mobile Money in Zimbabwe
The crisis, which now makes it almost impossible for subscribers to make cash-out transactions even for as little as $5, is a setback to the financial inclusion plan. Mobile money was touted as the key driver to financial inclusion by virtue of its wide network coverage.
A survey conducted by Standardbusiness last week revealed that customers were failing to cash out money they would have received through the mobile money platform as the agents did not have cash to disburse to customers.
A mobile money agent named Peter (not his real name), said his business, like any other business, was affected by the cash challenges prevailing in the country.
“The net effect of that is that it affects our commission because the more transactions that one does, the more the agent earns. Yes, there are some agents who are now double charging customers $2 for every $100 withdrawn in addition to the cash-out charge. So for every $100 cashed out, one is charged $5. This has been happening with EcoCash agents only because they are the ones with a wider network coverage. It’s illegal to double charge clients but if customers resist that, they will not be able to access the cash,” Peter said.