Zimbabwe’s telecoms firm Econet Wireless has launched an initiative that would enable commuters to pay for transportation using Ecocash, its mobile money service that currently has around 2 million users.
Econet said it developed the service in partnership with the country’s “kombi” (public taxi) operators and hope that it will solve some of the problems that come with accepting fares in cash.
“Our target is to have 70 percent of commuters using EcoCash by the end of the year in line with our market share,” said Econet Services, Managing Director Mr Darlington Mandivenga.
Under the scheme, “kombi” operators will accept to be paid using EcoCash rather than actual cash. Any operator who accepts EcoCash for payment is able to translate it into actual cash through TN Bank.
All a commuter has to do is key-in a short code, and the money goes straight to the Commuter operator’s cell phone, much like the Kenyan mobile money service M-Pesa.
Econet has also deployed over 150 “Ecocash Commuter ambassadors” who will travel every day on kombis to show Econet customers how to pay using EcoCash.
Econet expects to have all transport services such as commuters, long distance buses, and Zupco to be on EcoCash by the end of November.
Mandivenga has said that anyone with a bank account will soon be able to move money from his account to EcoCash.
“If you have a bank account you will not need to go to an agent to get money into your EcoCash wallet; you can do it from your cell phone, from anywhere, at any time,” he said.