Telecel Zimbabwe has become the first mobile phone operator to issue debit cards for its Telecash subscribers, a service which can be used to pay for services and to withdraw funds.
The ‘gold card’ can be used at any ZimSwitch point of transaction to pay for different services including buying groceries, paying for DSTV subscriptions, restaurant and hotel bills. It can also be used to withdraw cash at ZimSwitch branded ATMs. This boosts access points for Telecash subscribers who can now transact at more than 5 000 ZimSwitch points of sale across the country.
Telecel mobile financial services director Nkosinathi Ncube explains, “Retail outlets were complaining that mobile money purchases were slowing down services causing queues.” He said this led them to consult with different stakeholders including consumers, banks and retail operators,coming up with a Telecash gold card that will smooth operations. “The Telecash gold card is convenient. It can be used to make payments in the same way as a bank debit card at any ZimSwitch point of sale or to withdraw cash from any ZimSwitch branded ATM,” said Ncube.
For this service, Telecel Zimbabwe partnered with CBZ, ZimSwitch and Afriasia. “Since we are not a bank we made a deal with CBZ that our transactions will go through their bank,” said Ncube. He added that their partnership with ZimSwitch makes Telecash convenient to use as subscribers are now able to withdraw cash from ATMs at any time rather than wait for agents to open shop in the morning.“Transactions at ZimSwitch access points will use prescribed standard transaction charges,” he said.
Telecash has been operating for the past five months. Ncube said that over $17 million has been transacted via the system to date. Since its launch, Telecash has been integrated to ZimSwitch for the ZIPIT functionality where funds can be transferred instantly from any Telecash wallet to any ZIPIT certified bank account (Wallet to Bank). The same also happens from any ZIPIT certified bank account to any Telecash wallet (Bank to Wallet). The Telecash gold card is also directly linked to one’s Telecash wallet.
Meanwhile, Telecel IT director TendaiChirongote saidTelecash is set to cross the borders. “We have started engaging Visa and Mastercard to serve the international market and our local subscribers who may want to travel to other countries,” he said. Chirongote said the service will be availed in the near future.
The incorporation with Visa and Mastercard will also enable subscribers to shop online.