In the race to control the mobi-money market, Econet Wireless launched a credit line, EcoCashLoans yesterday morning at Holiday Inn Hotel.
This complements Econet’s mobile money transfer service, EcoCash and their new savings service EcoCash Save which was launched last month. Like EcoCashSave, EcoCashLoans is administered by Econet’s recently acquired Steward Bank.
EcoCashLoans is a service that allows EcoCashSave customers to borrow money amounting from $5 to $500. This is payable in 30 days. EcoCash CEO Cuthbert Tembedza explains, “30 days is our start up payment period but we will extend the tenure in due course.” He said the service is supported by a credit rating system that will look at activity on one’s wallet including usual transaction volumes, savings with EcoCashSave and also Econet Wireless airtime and internet data spending. This enables EcoCashLoans to determine how much money one is eligible to borrow.
EcoCashLoans does not require paperwork or collateral security.
“When you bought your sim card we collected your identity number and personal details, the same we did when you registered for EcoCash.” said Tembedza. Borrowers will access the credit service via their mobile devices, through EcoCash menus. If the loan application is approved, the loan will be transferred into the borrower’s EcoCash wallet.
EcoCashLoans does not charge interest on credit. Borrowers will be charged 5% handling fees per transaction. However, there is a chance that EcoCashLoans will be administered through other banks and if that happens, the indication is that the cost of borrowing will be different.
The service is available to EcoCashSave customers that have saved at least $5 over the past three months. Tembedza said, “This is a contractual product so you need to be above 18 to borrow.”
Ecocash has over one million active registered subscribers. It’s convenience in terms of registration and accessibility in different parts of the country has made it a favorite. Econet Services C.E.O Darlington Mandivenga said, “We have been introducing a new service each month since January and we plan to keep it up for your convenience.”
In January Econet introduced EcoSchool which offers various educational products and services though mobile and tablet applications. February saw the company introduce Econet Zero, a service which provides free internet access for educational website.