With last week marking the completion of the implementation of the national switch, those of us who were paying attention got a little excited over the fact that you can now move your money across EcoCash, OneMoney, your bank accounts and more even if we knew the move was already a controversial one and Econet didn’t like it. Unfortunately Econet are adamant in showing how much they don’t like it, as a recent TechZim article showed that it takes ZWL $48.38 to transfer ZWL $50.00 from one’s EcoCash to their OneMoney account while taking only ZWL $5.00 to transfer the same amount from OneMoney to EcoCash. Simply put, EcoCash isn’t trying to play well with other here, and it’s time they did.
Now anyone who’s been following the development of the National Switch will know that of course EcoCash (and the Econet group in extension) obviously didn’t want the Switch to be implemented, as it would lead to the control, monitoring and regulation of EcoCash by Zimswitch and likely cause issues both for the company and potentially its customers with detrimental effects. Conspiracies of the EcoCash’s money risking government laundering and so on also flew, but regardless of whether you believed those or not, or whether you were for or against the National Switch, EcoCash’s behaviour about the whole issue doesn’t buy it any favor with consumers. After all putting ridiculously high transaction costs on a transfer (96.76% in the TechZim example) is obviously a move to discourage users from ever moving their money from EcoCash and stay in the EcoCash ecosystem. But EcoCash needs to acknowledge that the reason people have wanted to transfer funds among mobile money platforms for years now is that (believe it or not) not everyone has EcoCash, or wants to use it. There is a myriad of reasons a user might want to transfer their money from EcoCash to OneMoney and vice versa, and EcoCash has no right trying to box people in and make them pay literally double the amount for moving funds.
What’s worse about all this is EcoCash also realizing it’s been forced in a position of actually being threatened by its competition, and is seemingly unable to cope with that. OneMoney has been improving its coverage, usage and customer benefits for years now, so much so that with last year’s system debacles, it became a popular alternative even for money changers on black markets. So now that you can essentially use OneMoney almost exclusively sending money even to EcoCash accounts, EcoCash definitely can’t seem to take that and is reacting like an angry child in a situation where it should be thinking up proper customer-centric strategies to keep current users and grow its base. EcoCash now has to bring its own perks , benefits and incentives to make people CHOOSE it as compared to before where they honestly had no other option 90% of the time. Forcing them to continue using EcoCash due to high transfer charges won’t do anyone any good, and if anything will push more new customers away from the platform. And yes there are speculative reasons as to why EcoCash is acting this way, but until they can give an official answer over their crazy charges then we can’t conclude anything else besides uncompetitive behavior. And considering the position they’re in with the Government and RBZ, that may not be a smart way to go about things. Hopefully they listen, for all our sakes. Either way, I’m officially opening my first OneMoney account.