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Zimbabwe's financial market closes ranks to absorb international monetary pressure

Zimbabwe's financial market closes ranks to absorb international monetary pressure

Zimbabwean mobile money firms and banks, whose debit cards have been limited or disabled for international transactions, have turned their attention to the home market and have started to link up wallets with bank cards.

Banks in Zimbabwe are restricting cash withdrawals at below US$50 and this has given rise to increased usage of mobile money wallets and bank cards.

Econet Wireless and NetOne recently announced closer integration of their mobile wallets and bank accounts.

This came as Stanbic Bank said its debit card limit for international payments was now US$100 per month.

Starting in November, card holders for Stanbic accounts will require prior limits before completing international transactions. Other banks, such as Standard Chartered Zimbabwe, have already cancelled usage of its Visa cards for international transactions.

"Please be advised that Online, POS and ATM foreign card payment limits have been revised to $100 per month with immediate effect until 31 October 2017. Thereafter, prior limit arrangements with the Bank will be required," Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe told depositors in an email on Thursday.

Mobile firms in Zimbabwe are now seeking to capitalise on growing usage of mobile money platforms in the country. NetOne has re-launched its mobile money wallet, previously known as One Wallet. The re-launched platform will allow users to undertake transactions such as utility bill payments and also comes with a debit card that is linked to banks in Zimbabwe.

Brian Mutandiro, CEO of NetOne said, "We will put this card in every hand that makes a basic payment. The price point for the card is $3 and gets swiping from your wallet."

Econet Wireless also announced an enhancement to transactions on the EcoCash platform.

Natalie Jabangwe, general manager for EcoCash, said all bank cards in Zimbabwe are now linked to the EcoCash wallet for swipe transactions.

This enables users to transfer money directly from their bank accounts into their EcoCash wallets.

This form of transaction will be enabled on point of sales, mainly those run by Steward Bank, in which Econet Wireless has a majority stake.

"The swipe into EcoCash will go a long way to promote convenience, give opportunity to modernise our national payment systems, eliminating the traditional processes that were cumbersome and time consuming," said Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe deputy director for National Payment Systems, Josephat Mutepfa.

Zimbabwean ICT Minister, Supa Mandiwanzira, said that mobile money platforms should now allow for closer integration.

"I now implore operators to engage on issues to do with connectivity and integration of mobile money services across networks; as this provides convenience for the customers," Mandiwanzira said at the re-launch of OneMoney in Harare.


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