Mobile money collapses due to cash squeeze


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Zimbabwe’s mobile money service has virtually collapsed due to the prevailing cash squeeze that has seen some banks reducing daily withdrawal limits to US$20 per day.

Long queues have become the order at most banking halls in and outside Harare as depositors wait to withdraw their cash.

The huge demand for US dollars can be attributed to the Government’s imminent introduction of the surrogate currency — bond notes.

A snap survey carried out by GemNationrevealed that EcoCash, TeleCash, One Wallet and Getbucks which are offering mobile money have been hugely affected due to depositors’ flight.

Coupled by the cash shortage, some mobile money agents have had to charge customers extra money taking advantage of the cash shortage.

Essentially when there are few or no depositors the mobile money virtually becomes useless.

And as is the case now, it has become difficult for one to send money to their loved ones because it is not guaranteed they will be able to access the money.

Some have already started sending money the old way whereby they go to bus operators with an envelope and pay a nominal fee to bus drivers who then deliver the money to intended recipients.

In an interview some people confirmed that they no longer trust mobile money service providers.

“It is now taking long to get money from either Ecocash, One Wallet or Telecash because some agents are accepting depositors only and turning away those who want to withdraw their money,” Mavis Chideya said.

Walter Musvibe of Chinorumba in Zaka said shop owners who double as agents were forcing people to buy stuff from their shops before they cash out.

“There is a lot of shenanigans going on now and we are being forced to buy groceries just to be able to withdraw money from our wallets,” he complained.

Recently, Econet announced that it was illegal for agencies to charge customers extra fees for the mobile money services outside the prescribed rates.


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