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Mobile money remittances for Zimbabwean expats

Mobile money remittance for Zimbabwean expats.

Expat Zimbabweans now have an alternative remittance service thanks to Econet Wireless partnering with cash transfer firm WorldRemit on a mobile money offering.

Econet’s mobile money service EcoCash has surpassed 3 million registered users in Zimbabwe and company officials said on Wednesday that its agents have now reached 13,000.

EcoCash currently allows services such as bill payments, airtime top-ups, payroll payments, a savings account and loans within Zimbabwe.

And the partnership with WorldRemit further allows expat Zimbabweans in the diaspora -- including those living in the United Kingdom, United States and other countries such as Tanzania, Nigeria and Kenya -- to send money straight into the mobile wallets of their friends and relatives back home in Zimbabwe.

But Darlington Mandivenga, chief executive officer for Econet services, says the transfers from Zimbabwe into other international countries through this partnership are still limited at this stage.

“The central bank has exchange control regulations that do not allow the outflow of money through the service at the moment,” he said.

Rob Ayers, a director representing WorldRemit said on Wednesday his company’s service differs from traditional money transfer offerings such as Western Union and MoneyGram that use third party agents.

“We have tried to mitigate the risks that come with traditional money transfer services by enabling senders to send money straight into the mobile phone wallet of the receiver. It can be done even during holidays,” said Ayers.

Transferring money through the service is done through accessing the World Remit website and following subsequent instructions, or by visiting the EcoCash website.

“WorldRemit gives us access to about 35 countries and we are challenging them to add more,” said Mandivenga.

WorldRemit has a presence in 25 African countries and ten international countries which it has given access to EcoCash.

Mandivenga said transfer limits of $1000 were applicable to money transfers through WorldRemit although he highlighted that Econet has applied for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to raise the limit.

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