EcoCash Launches Africa’s first physical MasterCard companion card in Zimbabwe

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Econet’s Mobile Money service, EcoCash, has announced a landmark agreement with MasterCard that will significantly assist in reducing cash dependence and increase financial inclusion through the provision of electronic payments in Zimbabwe.

The collaboration will result in more than three million MasterCard debit cards being issued to mobile money provider EcoCash’s customers in the next five years. This is the first time that physical MasterCard debit cards are available to people using mobile money services in Africa, and is the largest rollout of secure EMV Chip and PIN payment cards in Zimbabwe to date.

“The adoption of electronic payments is critical to Zimbabwe’s economic development. Reducing dependency on cash while increasing financial inclusion benefits the whole country including the government, industry sectors like tourism and retail, merchants and citizens,” says Douglas Mboweni, CEO of Econet.

Today, 40% of Zimbabweans are financially excluded and another 22% rely on informal financial products or services. Through its mobile money products, EcoCash has successfully provided a means for unbanked and under-banked citizens to participate in the formal economy and has reduced the demand placed on banks for scarce and costly currency.

For the first time, EcoCash customers will be able make use of their EcoCash funds in ways previously closed to them. By obtaining an EcoCash MasterCard debit card, EcoCash customers will be able to withdraw money from MasterCard-licensed ATMs and pay for goods and services at millions of merchants that accept MasterCard payment cards, both in Zimbabwe and internationally.

“The integration of these products and services are particularly exciting for EcoCash customers,” says EcoCash CEO Cuthbert Tembedza. “We look forward to offering Zimbabweans even more ways to benefit from the security and convenience of electronic payments as they engage with, and contribute to, the formal economy.”

Source: Biztechafrica (link opens in a new window)

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banking, Base of the Pyramid, financial inclusion, financial services, mobile money