ECONET Wireless’ mobile money service EcoCash has launched a MasterCard-enabled debit card, giving subscribers access to paying for goods and services at over 47 million points worldwide.
The launch of the debit card yesterday came barely a month after Telecel launched its debit card as mobile operators jostled for new streams of revenue in the wake of reduced revenue from voice calls.
EcoCash chief executive Cuthbert Tembedza said the MasterCard-enabled debit card would remove the pain of carrying large sums of cash across the borders. He said it was the only MasterCard debit card linked to one’s phone.
“It allows you to pay for goods and services at over 47 million points internationally and 10 000 points locally,” Tembedza said.
He said there were over 700 selected agents to be used as distribution points alongside Econet and Steward Bank’s branches. A customer would activate the card using EcoCash menu and can suspend and reactivate the card in the event of loss.
The card costs $2 and the fees ranges between $0,30 and $2,45.
Tembedza said the debit EcoCash MasterCard would help in promoting financial inclusion and visibility of transactions.
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MasterCard vice-president and head of Southern Africa & Indian Ocean Islands Charlton Goredema said his company was “pleased to bring our innovation and global presence to this product”.
Econet Wireless chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni said the new product was a result of the mobile operator’s massive investment since its formation 16 years ago. Econet has invested over $1,2 billion in the country since inception in 1998.
Mboweni said the number of debit cards to be issued would be monitored ensuring that “no one who demands the service was denied access”.
“We have been aggressive with our number, but have to be realistic because of the demographic of this nation. We will watch the trend. We are looking at three million, but there is no limit in terms of pushing that up,” Mboweni said.