It seems like a distant memory but there was a time when Ecocash dominated every facet of our financial lives. We would cash in, cash out, send money and pay our bills using the mobile money wallet. That was until the RBZ dealt a death blow to Ecocash and other mobile money wallets by banning agents, cash-ins, cash-outs and bulk payments after accusing the services of promoting money laundering.

Now the RBZ has partly reversed this decision. They have now brought back cash-ins. According to the Financial Intelligence Unit’s memo to mobile network operators. people are now allowed to cash in as much as $5 000 ZWL at “designated outlets”. This effectively means that we will now have agents again as that is what those designated outlets would.

Why is the RBZ doing this?

The RBZ has ordered mobile network operators such as Econet, Telecel and NetOne to curb the sale of physical airtime cards. While most people already recharge their phones using physical juice cards, there is a certain informal section of the economy that still prefers to use cash to recharge their phones. These people don’t have access to bank accounts and so allowing them to cash in and recharge using their balances is the way to go.