Zimbabwe: Telecash Agents Top 3 000
The number of telecash agents and merchants that have signed up with Telecel now stands at more than 3 000, almost double the number that had been registered when telecash was launched at the end of January.
When the mobile money transfer service was launched less than four months ago, there were 1 600 registered telecash agents and merchants. This number increased by more than a thousand within two months and has continued increasing since then.
The visibility of telecash agents and merchants has also increased, as telecash signs displaying the agent's or merchant's telecash number continue to spring up in different places in towns, cities, growth points and business centres all over the country.
Immediately after telecash was launched its visibility was low, due largely to anxieties on the part of some agents over reports that another mobile phone network was refusing to allow its agents to become agents for other networks. Some were reluctant, as a result, to be seen acting for telecash as well as another mobile money service provider.
However, once that issue was resolved, following the intervention of the Reserve Bank, which made it clear that it was not permissible for any network to restrict agents from becoming agents of other networks unless an exceptional case could be made for doing so, the number and visibility of telecash agents and merchants grew rapidly.
Agents can register new telecash subscribers. They accept telecash deposits and permit telecash account withdrawals. If they are suppliers of goods or services, they also allow those goods and services to be purchased usng telecash.
A telecash merchant does not register telecash subscribers and may not take deposits or allow withdrawals. However, the merchant allows goods and services to be purchased using telecash.
All Telecel shops are telecash agents, so too are all Bon Marche, OK Bazaars and TM supermarkets and all post offices. There are also numerous small agents all over the country.
Recently, for instance, a wooden hut with telecash branding was erected on open ground near the intersection of West Road and Lomagundi Road opposite shops in the Emerald Hill area of Harare, not far from a similar hut set up by the agent of another mobile money service.