There’s been much talk about how much Ecocash will suffer from the new regulations around mobile money and the instituting of Zimswitch as a national payments switch meaning mobile money levelled the playing field. A view I don’t entirely share. I’ve stuck my neck out to say firstly level playing fields favour bigger players and secondly Ecocash management has shown dynamism over the years and there’s no reason they would stop now. Well, that dynamism is on the show again as they have launched a $30 million loyalty program for Ecocash users.
My Ecocash Rewards
Ecocash has gone with a simple point for usage system and many have asked what the points they are seeing on their Ecocash messages are for. For every $200 you use via Ecocash when either sending money, merchant payments, bill payments, buying airtime, buying bundles, receive money through remittance or banking services earns you 1 point. The points are redeemable at the end of the month buy dialling *151*300#. The exact prizes and redemption values were not made clear in marketing communication but will surely become clearer as we approach month-end.
We previously how people have grown a disdain for Ecocash and Econet’s never-ending launches. The launches are not a bad thing in themself. The launches are signs of a management team that is willing to try things. That some of these ideas then disappear in silence is the worrying part but not our focus for today. This is certainly a reaction to the change in the playing field, no matter how you try to dress it up. Ecocash looks to reward people for continuing their current behaviour.
In all the coverage since interoperability was finally established one sticking point has been the cost of sending money across platforms. The charges for sending money from Ecocash to other platforms such as One Money are somewhere between astronomical and ridiculous. While in testing the costs of sending money the other way are reasonable. No amount of explanation could make up for this disparity and it points to a defensive or prohibitive move by Ecocash. This may not be a wise move as people tend to care about things when they have them taken away. Last time we checked EcoCash fell under the purview of the RBZ and it would be interesting to know if they got approval for these charges and the explanation.
One more question
Just as an additional question on the rewards program will these rewards apply to these transactions when the recipient is on another provider? Say you send money to someone on One Money, do I still get my rewards points?
One thing that has been said time and again is that levelling the playing field will spur Ecocash to innovate and be competitive. As an early sign, this supports that belief.