SA Reserve Bank allows Econet mobile money remittances to Zim

JUNE 12, 2015

The South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) now allows remittances into Zimbabwe using the EcoCash mobile money platform, Econet Wireless said late Thursday afternoon.

The approval means that the EcoCash mobile money application now enables expat Zimbabweans working in South Africa to send money home. This money will then go straight into the mobile money wallets of recipients in Zimbabwe.

EcoCash has 3 million registered users in Zimbabwe and it is already in partnership with Western Union and MasterCard.

“EcoCash and its South African partners have finally secured approval from the South African Reserve Bank to start a cross border remittance service from South Africa,” the company said Thursday.

It said the approval process had been lengthy, taking up to 18 months for Sarb to finalise licensing of the service.

The cross-border remittances using the EcoCash platform is now expected to be up and running by the end of July.

“We should be up and running by the end of next month,” a statement from the company said.

Econet said the new service will help “Zimbabweans working in South Africa” to do away with “hassles and challenges of sending money to relatives”. Amounts as small as R50 and above can now be send across the Limpopo.

“The new service will (likely) alter the pattern of remittances which today is characterised by large, lump sum transfers of around R1 000 being sent monthly or every several months.”

The maximum remittance amount using the platform was not immediately disclosed by Econet.

Econet is also calling its service a “micro-remittance” offering and the company is hoping that individuals can send money at a low cost.

Econet, though, is not the only service provider to enable cross-border mobile payments between South Africa and Zimbabwe. South Africa’s First National Bank (FNB) also has a similar offering that allows cash-outs at the likes of OK retailers in Zimbabwe.