On the 8th of September, ZIPIT Smart was officially launched. For those of you hearing about this for the first time, let me briefly explain. Virtually all of you are familiar with both ZIPIT and EcoCash. With ZIPIT you get to send money from your bank account to another bank account through your mobile phone. This is broadly doable through either your respective bank’s USSD menu or through their mobile app (if they have one). Then we have EcoCash which I do not have to get into. I am saying all this to paint a picture for you seeing that many people are yet to even understand what ZIPIT Smart is all about.
ZIPIT Smart Explained Further…
ZIPIT Smart is something I can term a cross between the operational protocols of ZIPIT and EcoCash. ZIPIT Smart will essentially enable you to pay for goods and services using your bank account. Typically you have always been paying for goods and services using your bank card. However, with ZIPIT Smart no card will be involved. You will use your mobile phone to make payments from your bank account just like you normally do with EcoCash.
Those who provide goods or services will register to be on the ZIPIT Smart platform. Registration will enable them to get a unique merchant code – will mention this later on. First, let me highlight how you will access the ZIPIT Smart. It will be accessible through the bank’s USSD menu or mobile app. When looking to make a payment you will access the menu and you will enter a respective merchant’s merchant code to make the payment.
This is a game-changer especially considering that quite many merchants do not accept swipe payments. In most cases, it is not even because they do not want to but the framework for accepting swipe payments is riddled with costs and numerous modalities. Anyways, that is enough for educating those who probably have not heard about the ZIPIT Smart platform. It has been a while since the official launch and we are still to see it picking up steam.
People Are Still Waiting…
When I talked about the official launch of ZIPIT Smart I pointed out that only a few banks already had the option on their menu. These are Agribank, Metbank, CABS, NMB, BancABC, and FBC. The other banks are yet to have the option on their menus. I have an account with Steward Bank and I checked then and now – the option is still not yet there. I have been wondering about several things some of which I will discuss herein.
Some Things To Look At
First and foremost, I think not enough has been done in publicising about ZIPIT Smart. Chances are very high that the vast majority of Zimbabweans have never heard of it. I am referring to both sides of the coin – customers and merchants. If that is the case, as I think it is, it could be why there is still any significant progress to be seen. Here is why this is an important talking point:
Merchants Probably Not Yet Registered On The Platform
There was absolutely nothing wrong in kick-starting with just 6 banks. I believe the rationale was to sort of pilot the initiative, build up user-generated content and hype the whole thing. With considerable activity, other banks would have joined the bandwagon. I am yet to hear of anyone from those 6 banks I mentioned earlier who has used the platform. Well, this depends not only on the customer side but also (actually more) on the merchants’ side – I think the vast majority of merchants are yet to register to be on the platform.
Fear Of The Unknown – Still Blind Spots And Blind Curves
The other issue pertains to the possibility that merchants might not be huge fans of the platform. I am yet to delve into this – it would be much easier if we get to see some activity on the ZIPIT Smart platform, enough to help us draw insights. Given the intricacies of Zimbabwean monetary and fiscal issues, there could be downsides to using the platform. Even on the customer side, it is yet to be established if the transaction charges are reasonable. At best we are still to know quite a lot of which is still hard to establish given how the platform has not yet taken off significantly.
Maybe it is too early to conclude but I feel too much time has elapsed already. We should have already started seeing substantial activity on the platform. What are thoughts regarding this ZIPIT Smart platform? Are you for it or you are not keen on using? Kindly share with us these and more insights in the comments below.