The Zimbabwean Perspective

A look at our lives and the tech we use in them

Editorial Money

Here’s why it costs so much to transfer money from EcoCash to OneMoney or Telecash(and why we partially apologize)

Granting a bigger picture and sticking to a point..

About two weeks ago we published an article on Econet’s crazy cross-wallet ZIPIT transfer charges, charging 98% of a transaction to transfer money NetOne’s OneMoney, while OneMoney only charged 5% for the exact same transfer. We said that the main reason for this seems to be EcoCash just wanting to keep people in the EcoCash ecosystem, but while that’s not necessarily wrong, some more digging brought us to a more logical reason, and one that we felt we had to share.

 

So why does EcoCash charge so much for ZIPIT transfers?

Say hello to ACI Worldwide, a big enabler of EcoCash and it’s systems
Well the big reason for this is one some of you may be familiar with if you know the M.O. for a lot of Econet subsidiaries: outsourcing and using international tech. To put it in simple terms, EcoCash uses a product called Postilion from a company called ACI Worldwide for all it’s transfers and integrations. They’ve been using it for pretty much as long as they’ve been running and Postilion has granted them advantages such as faster integration with banks and (until recently) reliable performance. However, Postilion and ACI Worldwide are not Zimbabwean, and have always charged EcoCash for their services with US Dollar, which seems to be different from OneMoney and Telecash who use ZimSwitch Services (ZSS) that seem to be more friendly to local economic conditions. With the recent move to the national switch however, EcoCash has seemingly had to work under terms that allow them to work withing both Postilion and ZSS’ conditions, including likely some fees on both ends, which of course, leaves the company bleeding more money than they would like to, hence the ludicrous prices for ZIPIT transfers. Chances are EcoCash could likely still reduce some of these costs (I mean the difference between 98% and 5% is insane) but perhaps the difference wouldn’t be by much and hence the company will have to figure out something fast. And in case you are wondering why EcoCash doesn’t just drop Postilion, well that would essentially mean rebuilding EcoCash as we know it, and that would be suicide for their product and a cause for serious problems as EcoCash is still pretty much a dominant form of trade in the country.

 

Why are we apologizing then?

 

Well for starters, we’re not apologizing to EcoCash. We pretty much still stand by most of our points from the last article, albeit with more sympathy towards their situation. However, sympathy or not, EcoCash still hasn’t come out and spoken about this, or told users what their situation is. They definitely haven’t warned users about the high transfer prices either and that makes one think that they don’t mind the current situation as far as ZIPIT transfers are concerned. Rather our apology is to you, the reader, because we wrote an article before we had been able to gather all the required facts. Journalism at it’s core (even on an internet tech blog) is still based on gathering all the required data, presenting it to the reader, and letting you form your own opinion even if we told you of ours. The fact that we didn’t have all the facts , makes our initial conclusion less than stellar, even if it is bolstered by EcoCash’s own secretive behavior. We’ll make it a point to refrain from such, but we also hope EcoCash ( and a lot of Econet subsidiaries in general) make it a point to not keep users guessing so much.
Only time will tell.

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