This morning Ecocash informed the wider public that their platform was down. For many people, this was the first time hearing the news. That is how the mobile money transfer platform’s fortunes have changed over the course of two years. There was a time when the public was very much aware of each time Ecocash sneezed because it had such an oversized presence on our lives. It was the primary means of transacting before fate intervened and reversed that position. The good news is Ecocash is now up, as of midday today. The bad news is that not many people are likely to care. Most people will just shrug as both events had little impact on their lives.

Dear Valued Customer

We are happy to advise that all EcoCash services are fully restored and are now working normally.

You can now Do a Bank to Wallet, Send Money, Pay ZESA, Pay Merchant, buy Airtime and Pay Bills smoothly from your ZWL wallet and you can also Cash-In US$, Send US$ and Cash-Out US$.

Thanks you for your patience and we again apologise for all inconveniences caused.

Live Life the Ecocash! [sic]

Ecocash’s message on the issue

Ecocash pivoting into USD

So there are a couple of reasons why Ecocash’s role in the economy as diminished:

  • The decline of the ZWL in important transactions. Data shows that more and more people are using USD to transact and save.
  • The RBZ ban of Ecocash agents and payroll system reduced avenues that brought money into the Ecocash ecosystem. There are not many valid reasons to do a bank to wallet transaction at the moment because banks have diligently been adding value-added systems to their platforms too. You can pay for internet, ZESA, airtime, insurance and many other services by tapping on quick links with most banks. Why then should you bother to move your money o Ecocash?
  • The continued decline in ZWL cash means that people with money in Ecocash couldn’t withdraw it easily without being charged steep charges by cash dealers.
  • The 2% tax. Many people hate the tax which they see as a sign of government greed and overreach. Many would rather bother with ZWL/RTGS mess and pay using USD cash
  • Many traders no longer accept Ecocash due to successive periods of rate spikes and inflation. If people cannot spend it they will not want to receive it either. Look at what happens to notes or coins that people refuse to accept. They die no matter how many times the RBZ claims.

Ecocash was the king of ZWL and now ZWL has a diminished role in the economy. It is that simple. The company seems very much aware of its predicament and is now pivoting into the USD market as can be clearly seen in the notice of service restoration. They have their work cut out for them here. This is a sector that is fast becoming crowded but if the past is anything to go by there is plenty of pie here.