Brighton Gumbo Business Reporter
ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe has launched a tap and go payment system that will allow customers to buy from vendors and informal merchants without using cash. The payment system is called EcoCash Ta!
In a statement, Econet chief executive officer Douglas Mboweni said the product which was the first of its kind in the country, seeks to promote a cashless society.
A cashless society is an economy where people do not have to carry cash to buy goods and services.
“Ecocash Ta! uses technology called Near Field Communication which enables our clients to tap their cellphone against a merchant or vendor’s enabled micro point-of-sale device and the value of the transaction will be automatically deducted from the client’s EcoCash account.
“No PIN is required when paying for purchases of up to $3, and any transaction above $3 requires a PIN up to a daily limit of $1,000,” he added.
He said the payment system was a safer and convenient option for many vendors who in the past were forced to carry a lot of cash which increased the risk of losing money to thieves.
“EcoCash Ta! will benefit vendors selling airtime, fruits and vegetables, potentially opening a new avenue for employment creation in a country where many people are surviving on informal trading,” he said.
In Harare alone, Mboweni said more than 500 vendors, merchants and agencies had already signed for EcoCash Ta!
The payment system was also not only for vendors, as even retailers such as supermarket chains and butcheries can sign up for EcoCash Ta!
He said Econet plans to launch the tap and go payment system in other parts of the country in the next few weeks.
“Our plan is to revolutionise the way vendors and merchants receive payment for their goods by introducing a safe and convenient payment method that makes life easier for them and their customers as none has to carry cash on them,” he said.
The launch of the new payment system comes at a time when Econet’s mobile transfer platform, EcoCash, which was launched in September 2011, has cumulatively transacted over $11 billion.