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Zimbabwe: Telecoms and Banks lock horns over mobile banking

By Janet Shoko
Posted on Monday, 25 November 2013 17:03

BAZ urgues that doing so is tantamount to “opening up the sector to unacceptable practices” and the services should be stopped.

Zimbabwe’s three mobile phone network operators, Econet, Telecel and NetOne all run mobile money transfer services, to the chagrin of the bankers, who say this must be halted.

My view is that we do not make clear and straight forward policies

Banking experts say none of these services are covered by the Banking Act, despite the central bank giving the telecommunications firms the nod to go ahead.

The bankers association accuse the mobile telephone operators of exploiting a grey area in the Banking Act.

BAZ president George Guvamatanga is of the view that the practice was unacceptable and firm policies should be crafted.

“We are promoting unacceptable practices,” he said. “My view is that we do not make clear and straight forward policies.

“Most of the policies and guidelines give a lot of discretion to the regulaton.

“We need to reduce discretion and implement clear cut policies that are backed by legislation, this will minimise misinterpretation and policy reversals.”

Econet, the country’s largest mobile operator, has gone further to launch a savings facility, which allows subscribers to hold accounts under its Ecosave service, which is linked to Steward Bank, an institution it wholly owns.

Users can save as little as a dollar on their accounts and has proved popular with subscribers.

Its money transfer service, Ecocash, has over 3 million subscribers and has handled transactions worth over $2 billion since it launched in August 2011.

On the other hand, in a bid to keep abreast of the fast-growing mobile money market, State-owned mobile telephone operator NetOne recently re-launched its OneWallet facility.

The revamped mobile banking platform now incorporates money transfers across all networks.

Telecel, the second largest mobile operator, is soon to launch its mobile money service – Telecash.

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