EcoCash to offer loans

Douglas Mboweni

Douglas Mboweni

Business Reporter
Mobile phone operator Econet Wireless says EcoCashSave account holders will soon be able to borrow the same way as ordinary bank account holders. This is part of what will be called EcoCashCredit that Econet Wireless is planning to roll out early in the new year with the accounts having grown to 900 000, exceeding the total held by all traditional banking institutions.

Econet Wireless chief executive, Mr Douglas Mboweni, confirmed that a scheme is being developed whereby people can also borrow money from EcoCash.

He said the borrowing will be done through partner banks, including Steward Bank. He said lending was a natural next step, pointing out that the plan was to lend for uses such school fees, right up to housing loans.

Mr Mboweni said accounts held by Steward Bank for EcoCashSave have surpassed those held by all banks put together.
“We have more than 900 000 account holders, compared to 850 000 for all the banks,” he said.

EcocashSave is a paperless banking service for opening and operating an EcoCash save bank account through your mobile phone, through

Ecocash, without visiting a bank to fill out bank account opening forms.

It provides the ability to move money in and out of your EcoCash Save savings account to an Ecocash account at no charge and savings from as low as US$1 earning interest on the saving balance. This cash is moved into the savings account using a customer’s handset and guided by instructions on the EcoCash Menu.

EcoCash is a mobile phone based money transfer service offered by Econet Wireless, allowing for cash deposits and withdrawals, transfers, cellular purchase of airtime, data bundles and bill payments among others.

The innovative non-traditional banking initiative has brought about previously unimagined financial inclusion for all Zimbabweans who for various reasons either had no access to traditional banking or did not afford.

Mr Mboweni told analysts  at the mobile operator’s half- year results briefing for the period to August 2013, EcoCash had handled more than US$1,2 billion in the last six months alone in more than 50 million separate transactions and growth was expected as with overlay services expected to dry the company’s future growth as the traditional voice and short message service business matures as evidenced by stagnating revenues.

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    zvinoroyesa zvamakuita izvi? well civilized

  • Mfanekhaya

    Now thats innovation!

    • Bill

      What is

      • ZimboforLife

        Good question. Ndofunga kupa chikwereti i innovation. lol

  • Now waiting for eco energy and then eco water. Go Masiiwa go.

  • Holder

    The very interesting part is that of no paper work and being asked several question for u to open an account in other banks. Keep it up. Let those who want to open Ecocash shops do, don’t impose restrictions. Thank u for creating more jobs in Zim.

  • Nays

    If only Zimbabwe was being governed by people who are as innovative as those at Econet; God only knows where this country would be by now. Instead, we have the same old grandfathers whose brain cells have ceased to be functioning normally. Made, JMoyo, Mnangagwa and Chombo

    • Jotham

      We should operate within the frame work of the law. Masiyawa always portrays himself as a Christian(an earthly one for that matter) , a business man of sound judgement , but of late he has shown that he is very mean and cares less for other human beings , nerimwe gore zvichaputsika. God is not owned by any one , let alone Econet(Masiyiwa). Econet should register as a bank , there no ways about it. I call upon the Govt. to allow Banks the right to registers as (cellphone)mobile operators. Mbavha imbavha chete ine svutu nyangwe yakapfeka madhende.

      • Nays

        I think I am failing to understand your argument here. Are you angry at Strive and Econet and for what reasons?. Why would you say that he doesnt care for his fellows and why would you say that he is mean? Why would you wish his downfall when God has blessed him? As far as I know, Econet has been at the forefront of the latest developments in terms of telecommunications in Zimbabwe and have came up with a very innovative way of doing our banking in Zim. Is there a bank that has been trying to apply for a telecomms licence? If yes, you should know that Econet does not issue those licences but POTRAZ.

  • Nemburungwe

    These traditional banks, such as Standard Bank, are becoming mean, in terms of rendering loans to valued customers, so thank you in advance Econet; you are innovative, empathic, creative and you have already blest us with your presence; arwadziwa nebasa renyu, ngaabude!

    • Jotham

      You are singing for your supper , Praise Singer

  • Jotham

    That is what I call manipulation , Econet should open their own Bank. Be registered like any other Bank. Pay the necessary registration fees and have the required capital threshold as per any banking institution.. Currently they are enjoying a free service. The RBZ as a regulatory body must take Econet to task. Let Econet operate within the Frame work of the law. They began with a service of sending cash to the most remote areas- that was viewed as being innovative. Now they have literal destroyed the banking sector .
    i call upon the Govt. and the RBZ to allow all banks to operate mobile services in the country.
    Let us be fare. so that banks will be able lay their hands on ease cash being transferred by their clients


      you do know that the ecocash platform has manged to rein in the 2bn dollars that was not in the formal economy,i dont see how thats unfair,and besides i dont zim lawmakers are that daft,as not to see the purpoted manipulation that you talk of.

    • HARARE


      • Jotham

        Be economical minded , don’t be a mob psychologist . Econet is not being charged rates that commensurate with the banking act. They are not paying bank charges , registration fees and stringent costs associated with banking. Do not be emotional and be blinded by your love to Either Econet or Masiyiwa. Banks cannot give Loans because the likes of Econet are diverting Cash meant for the Banks to their non Physical bank which is operating in the sky. Econet should come clean and stop holding the country at ransom.

        • Nays

          Dude, do you understand your argument? If not, then we cant understand you either. What exactly are you trying to say? Do you know that we are almost at the end of 2013. Do not be stuck in gutter. I bet you are a sympathizer of the current leadership that has kept and drawn the country into darkness.

          • mishy

            Nays i fully agree wit u…….traditional banks must wake up if they want to survive,,,,,econet saw an opportunity and exploited it to benefit the general public…… we need people who r innovative n creative.

    • Nays

      That is called being innovative. What you are saying is those that invented the car should have been taken to court by those that had invented the cart. If the Postal and Telecommunications Act allows them to offer such services and the banking act does not prohibit them to do so; then they should carry on with this. Innovations & Competition are very healthy for every economy and beneficial in the sense that it brings better products to the market. We are not going to be stuck with the traditional banking sector services and in particular those in Zimbabwe which have lagged behind in terms of technology and products. Loans at the banks are VERY EXPENSIVE and have hindered growth in some way. There are a lot of people who would have loved to get a Home Loan but because its expensive in Zimbabwe, they have abandoned that dream and with this is a big loss to the economy in many ways(less building jobs, less cement bought, less bricks bought, less rates paid, less everything) . If Econet can provide the loans at a lower rate and with ease, then that will force everyone to revise their ways of doing business esp. interest rates. Any bank can operate mobile services like ewallets, etc. It is upto them to put that into action or to just fold their hands and watch someone like Econet do it.

  • Ce

    Econet if not Strive Masiyiwa has changed for the better the way people live and do business. They have products and solutions not just in communication and banking like this but also products for Health, Energy/Power, Clean water et. and this are the primary problems for Africa.