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Thursday, August 07, 2014

Econet, MasterCard enter MoU on Mobile Money Card

Econet Zimbabwe and MasterCard have entered a Memorandum of Understand (MoU) on scaling uptake of the mobile money cards in the region, tagged EcoCash, reports ITRealms.

This development,
ITRealms gathered will significantly assist in reducing cash dependence and increase financial inclusion through the provision of electronic payments in Zimbabwe.

Explaining this MoU, Douglas Mboweni, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Econet Zimbabwe noted that 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.

ITRealms recalls that 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 Europay, MasterCard and Visa, a global standard for inter-operation of integrated circuit cards (EMV Chip) and Personal Identification Number (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,” Mboweni said.
He pointed out that today, 40 per cent of Zimbabweans are financially excluded and another 22 per cent 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.

Equally speaking, EcoCash CEO Cuthbert Tembedza said the integration of these products and services are particularly exciting for EcoCash customers.
“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,” Tembedza said.

EcoCash chief noted that as a today, over 85 per cent of retail payments globally are still carried out using cash or cheque, stressing that the percentage is much higher in Africa.
As a payment option, Tembedza pointed out that cash takes time to get at, and is riskier to carry, as well as costing the society as much as 1.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), depending on the country. He stressed that it’s for these reasons that governments are rapidly driving the conversion from cash to electronic payments as they realize the benefits of a cashless society.

For Charlton Goredema, Vice President and Area Business Head, Southern Africa, MasterCard, “The EcoCash MasterCard debit card is a milestone towards realising MasterCard’s vision of a cashless society. Demonstrating the value of close collaboration in the financial services and payments technology industries, EcoCash and MasterCard have devised an innovative payment product that addresses Zimbabwe’s market realities, particularly by acknowledging the impact mobile money has on the country’s economy.”

Further, Goredema said that as EcoCash enables its customers to benefit from MasterCard’s global payments network, they are assisting Zimbabwe to integrate its economy with those elsewhere in the world.

“Importantly, we are also contributing to the financial freedom of individuals,” Goredema declared.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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