ZIMBABWE’S largest mobile phone operator by subscription Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has launched a new paperless banking service which will be offered through EcoCash wallet.
The new service, EcoCash Save, will enable subscribers to open and operate a bank savings account through mobile phones without having to visit any bank to fill out account opening forms.
Speaking at the official launch of the product yesterday, EcoCash chief executive officer Cuthbert Tembedza said the new product was available to anyone who has an EcoCash account and the phone number would be the account number.
“The EcoCash Save account is aimed at millions of people in the country who until now, could not open bank accounts because the amount of money they deal with is considered too small by banks.
“It is also intended for the informal business sector, including street vendors, to have access to banking services,” said the company in a statement.
EcoCash, which was launched in 2011, according to official figures, has three million subscribers.
Last year, the mobile phone company took over Steward Bank (formerly TN Bank).
“Anybody who has an EcoCash account will have access to the EcoCash Save account effective from today (yesterday),” Tembedza said.
“Your phone number is your account number, you can save from as little as a $1 and you will also earn interest monthly.”
He said the EcoCash Save account had competitive interest rates on savings and interest would be calculated daily and paid out at the end of each calendar month.
Tembedza said there were no ledger fee charges and also no withdrawal charges between the EcoCash Save account and EcoCash.
“This account will cost you nothing . . . you will have a bank account and you will pay nothing. This money will be sitting in a bank account at Steward Bank,” Tembedza said.
He said the group had dedicated a call centre and over 7 000 EcoCash agents to look after the new product.
He, however, said the EcoCash Save account was an opportunity for every Zimbabwean to save, while customers could build capital.
“This gives an opportunity for our people to build capital for themselves to be entrepreneurs. It also benefits the country to foster a saving culture,” he said.