It has been many moons since the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe docked Ecocash’s tail and limited their transactions to a meagre $5 000ZWL per transaction. Since then Cassava Smartech, Ecocash’s parent company has been looking for ways to entice people to stay within its family. Part of that effort includes encouraging people to open accounts with Steward Bank. The problem is that iSave Account transaction limits are even lower than those of Ecocash.

The iSave account is likely to be customer’s first port of call if they are coming from Ecocash. You don’t even need to go to the bank to open this one. If you are an Ecocash customer all you need to do is to dial *263# on your Ecocash phone and follow the instructions. At the end of the process you will have an iSave account. The main benefit of an iSave account is that it’s like the NMB Lite and FBC Mobile Moola account. It comes with zero monthly fees as the customer is only charged when making transactions. This is the exact same way that Ecocash makes money so if you are an Ecocash user you are in familiar territory.

The thing is you there are really no benefits to having an iSave account if you already use Ecocash. Ecocash is now linked to ZIMSWITCH and the only thing that iSave has that Ecocash doesn’t have its a debit card. The largest draw card to having a bank account these days is that you can transact with freedom and exceed the paltry mobile money limits the RBZ has put in place. You can swipe $1 million ZWL is one swoop for example.

That doesn’t apply to iSave with it’s sad $20 000 ZWL per limit. That’s the equivalent of of less than US$200 per month. In comparison Ecocash now has weekly limit of $35 000ZWL albeit you are restricted to $5 000ZWL per transaction. That translates to a rather generous $140 000 ZWL or US$1 400. Most point of sale machines support Ecocash even though it doesn’t have a card so the iSave card advantage is not really that big of a deal. The last time the iSave limit was revised upwards was in the third quarter of 2019 and it shows.

The public notice that announced the changes clearly show what Steward is doing. They want to herd people towards the more lucrative iAccount which comes with monthly fees. The problem is that they are not giving people a good bite of the apple here with their super restrictive iSave account. Other banks are offering much better deals with their Lite accounts.