Ecocash Debit Card: Now Just A Localised Mastercard

Ecocash has with immediate effect banned the prefunding of United States Dollars into debit cards. This comes barely a month after EcoCash suspended the international transactions on their Mastercard  leaving the debit cards just a localised items. .

The foreign currency shortages have hit a lot of businesses and its no surprise that it has affected EcoCash’s Mastercard too. But what is a MasterCard if it cannot make international transactions?

By Pearson Mbendera

It was a brilliant move when EcoCash introduced the MasterCard barely a week after Telecash had introduced their debit card, and with the ability to make transactions internationally and even online, the EcoCash MasterCard was a life-changing introduction to the mobile money services. But right now, considering the service offered by the debit card, it is almost useless.

To start with, the charges of the EcoCash debit card are too expensive in making transactions locally. A lot of purchases nowadays are being done using plastic money with POS machine now a regular fixture in many shops.

Amount ($) Ecocash Debit Card POS Charges ($) Other Zimswitch Cards POS Charges ($)
1 .00-2.00 0.25 0.10
2.01-5.00 0.60 0.10
5.01-10.00 0.70 0.10
10.01-20.00 0.90 0.42
20.01-30.00 1.10 0.42
30.01-40.00 1.30 0.42


First the foreign currency shortages took away the DSTV payment option off the platform, then it took away the Virtual Card Network (VCN) option which enabled people to make payments online and overtime, the international transaction limits kept on getting reduced until they were suspended entirely.

To curb some of the foreign currency shortages, EcoCash introduced EcoCash Rand, a separate South African Rand funded EcoCash wallet, but it hasn’t been so popular yet.

With the diminishing capacity of EcoCash to deliver on many services that brought people to the biggest mobile money service in the first place, will people keep on hanging to EcoCash or will they migrate to other platforms offering a much cheaper and more convenient service?

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