StanChart riles depositors over Ecocash

STANDARD Chartered Bank has riled its depositors after taking long to integrate its system with Ecocash, to enable them to transact with others who do not have formal bank accounts.

Ecocash is Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s mobile money transfer service and dominates the local mobile transfer market.

In the last two weeks, The Herald Business has been inundated with calls from StanChart depositors who claimed to have been told off after enquiring about why it was taking long to integrate with Ecocash. “I bank with Standard Chartered but it is still not keen to allow us to move money from our accounts to Ecocash.

“Everyone knows that the country has no cash, and predictably, the bank is not giving their depositors’ money with the regularity they want but the bank still does not want to integrate with EcoCash. I was told to use OneMoney (NetOne’s mobile money service) but honestly, how do I do it when I don’t have a NetOne’s sim card?

“If I can get money into my Ecocash, then I am able to send money to relatives and even those I owe, who do not have bank accounts,” said one of the disgruntled depositors.

As part of efforts to promote a cash-lite society, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has cleared partnership arrangements between mobile payment service providers and deposit-taking financial institutions in line with the National Payment Systems Act.

Standard Chartered Bank’s head of corporate affairs and brand & marketing Mrs Lillian Hapanyengwi yesterday confirmed that the bank is yet to integrate with Ecocash but is working towards that.

“We are pleased to advise that we are at an advanced stage of integrating with Ecocash.

“We recently integrated OneMoney and Telecash onto our online platform. Standard Chartered Bank currently does not have a product of swiping into any mobile wallet but our clients will be able to transact on mobile or online with OneMoney and/or Telecash.

“We are always evaluating how we should reformat our current channels to deliver the most efficient service to our clients,” said Mrs Hapanyengwi.

StanChart and four other banks had previously declined to integrate their services with Ecocash under unclear circumstances.

However, when Econet launched the ‘Swipe into EcoCash’ service on October 25 last year, customers of all banks were expected to enjoy the facility.

Ecocash general manager Natalie Jabangwe Morris said all ZimSwitch enabled cards could access the facility at selected merchants, agents and customers.

Customers can swipe up to $2 000 per transaction. But StanChart is still dithering under unclear circumstances.

An estimated 6,8 million customers are active on the EcoCash platform as it remains the largest mobile money service provider, driving almost 90 percent of mobile money transactions in the country.

Statistics from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe show that mobile money transactions rose to $11 billion between January and September last year from $6,79 billion in the same period last year driven by cash shortages haunting the economy.