The incidence of sending money to the wrong recipient whilst using Ecocash is quite common. It can be very inconvenient especially when doing an urgent transaction. What makes it even more inconvenient is that the reversal process can take quite some time. In a bid to streamline that process Ecocash decided to introduce self-help reversals by incorporating the process via a USSD menu. This would’ve been a relief in comparison to the old way where you had to go to an Econet shop physically to expedite the process. So it was natural the development was greeted with excitement. The option was however pulled down from the USSD menu leaving many wondering what had just happened.

The Setup

You would simply dial *150# then you go for option number 3. From that option you will choose to either reverse a transaction or to approve a transaction reversal. This has always been possible through the Ecocash portal for self-help services. The major difference here is that those services have been brought to USSD. This essentially means that any phone whether being a smartphone or not can access these self-help services – without the need for an internet connection. For a reversal to be done the wrong recipient will have to approve the reversal request first. So long the wrong recipient is agreeable the process should be very fast and easy.

Some Noteworthy Talking Points

Public Concerns

Upon the introduction of the USSD system, people quickly cited concerns regarding the possibility of mischief. For instance, you send money to someone and then you immediately reverse it to spite them. This was particularly of concern regarding business transactions. However, I have already addressed this concern. For a reversal to go through, it will take the approval of the recipient in question. Thus, a reversal cannot happen with just the sender only whilst the recipient is out of the picture.

The other concern stemmed from the possibility of the recipient refusing to approve. Such a scenario would then need the sender to physically go to an Econet shop. This is a scenario that would entail Ecocash intervening to resolve the matter. As much as this concern can be addressed it somehow takes us back to the old way of having to physically visit an Econet shop. So it suffices to say that the possible lack of cooperation from a recipient casts a shadow on this USSD option.

Then it disappeared

So earlier today I accessed the menu only to find the option no longer part of the menu. Instead, there are now 4 options namely, Bureau de Change, Pfuma Listing, Merchant/Biller Search and Tariff Search. The Self-help reversal option is not there anymore. Why? That is a question of particular interest because the option was only up for a few days.

Let Us Explore Some Possible Reasons

The USSD transaction reversal option brings a lot of convenience but it is susceptible to abuse. It would not be surprising that people have been generating reversals even in cases where there is no need. Then it is also possible there have been instances where, even in genuine cases, recipients are refusing to cooperate. Putting these two together it might somehow have culminated in Ecocash choosing to take down the USSD option. I am, at best, just assuming here because no official word has been issued by Ecocash as to why the option is no longer there. Hopefully, they will communicate as soon as possible as to why they have taken it down. (Note: at the time of writing this article the option is no longer there on the *150# menu).

I guess we are back to that issue again where Econet does not communicate properly about some latest developments – especially pertaining to Ecocash services. Even when the USSD transaction reversal option came along they did not even SMS their subscribers about the development. There is a need for them to communicate properly so that we are always in the loop than to be left speculating or wondering.