Econet launches mobile phone payment system for vendors

ECONET Wireless has launched tap and go payment system called EcoCash ta! that will enable customers to buy from vendors and informal merchants without using cash.

The innovation responds to a changed local economy which is now dominated by the informal sector where, according to a recent survey, about $7.5billion is in circulation.

The company said the system was the first of its kind in Zimbabwe and is part of EcoCash's strategy to promote a cashless society where people do not have to carry cash to purchase goods.

“It is also a safer and convenient option for many vendors who have to carry cash with them, which increases risk of theft.

“EcoCash Ta! will benefit vendors selling airtime, fruits and vegetables, potentially opening a new avenue for employment creation in a country where many people are surviving on informal trading,” said Douglas Mboweni, the CEO of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe.

He said more than 500 vendors, merchants and agencies had already signed for EcoCash Ta! in Harare alone, and Econet planned to launch it in other parts of the country over the next few weeks.

“Our plan to revolutionise the way vendors and merchants receive payment for their goods by introducing a safe and convenient payment method that makes life easier for them and their customers as none has to carry cash on them,” said Mboweni.

“He said EcoCash Ta! is not only for vendors, as even retailers such as supermarket chains and butcheries can sign up for EcoCash Ta!.

“Ecocash Ta! uses technology called Near Field Communication which enables our clients to tap their cellphone against a merchant or vendor’s enabled micro point-of-sale device and the value of the transaction will be automatically deducted from the client’s EcoCash account.

“No PIN is required when paying for purchases of up to $3, and any transaction above $3 requires a PIN up to a daily limit of $1000,” added Mboweni.