Lately, transaction charges have been going up in Zimbabwe. I remember on the 1st of August contacting Steward Bank for a query. Here was my message to them, “There is around 5.5K in my account and I want to do an RTGS transfer of 5.1K and it is telling me insufficient funds, why??” I was so sure I could send the amount but turns out I could not. Their response was, “May you please note our new business conditions; 2 per cent of the transaction amount, the minimum charge being ZWL$590 and maximum ZWL$7000 plus 2 per cent IMT tax.” That is when it dawned on me that I was not yet aware of the new arrangement. Anyways, EcoCash has also just reviewed their transaction charges upwards.

10 Percent Increase For EcoCash Charges Starting September 2021

Starting next month, EcoCash charges will go up by 10 per cent. This follows EcoCash having gotten approval from the relevant regulatory authorities. The new charges structure will specifically become effective on the 19th of September. The last time EcoCash reviewed its charges was back in January 2021.

Here are some of the cost implications: Sending ZWL$100 right now costs you ZWL$8.01. After the review, sending that same amount will cost ZWL$9.38. Buying electricity for ZWL$100 using EcoCash right now costs you ZWL$7.76. After the review, it will cost you ZWL$9. Paying goods for ZWL$100 using EcoCash right now costs you ZWL$7.71. After the review that will cost you ZWL$8.91.

Note that there will be no extra charges for transactions beyond ZWL$3000. If you are sending money above ZWL$300, you will still be charged 1.91 per cent. If you make payments (i.e. bills and merchants), above ZWL$3000 the charge will still be 1.85 per cent.

It is important to note that 2 cents per dollar are equal to 2 per cent IMT Tax. IMT Tax is not applicable for transactions below ZWL$500. All tariffs above ZWL$500 include a mandatory Intermediated Money Transfer Tax (IMTT) of 2 cents per dollar.

On Transaction Limits

There was no mention of reviews on transactions limits. As it stands the transactions stipulated last year still obtain. In 2020 there was some chatter on the possibility of monetary authorities reviewing these transaction limits. However, nothing is yet to materialize in that regard. I think it would be convenient for the transacting public if these limits are reviewed. I do understand that there is also the concern of enabling parallel market activities. Thus in reviewing them there is a need for a delicate balance to be struck. As in, increased convenience for the public but keeping money changers in check as well.

So that is the latest regarding Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile money services provider, EcoCash. Lately, there has been a substantial increase in preference for EcoCash payments. There was a time when many people and entities shunned EcoCash payments. Ever since the insistence by authorities on using the interbank rate, electronic transactions have been somewhat favourable. Overall, I think the charges increase is marginal and might not really cause huge upheavals. What is your take?