EcoCash agents bounce back after central bank suspension is lifted

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By Staff Reporter

Econet Wireless  EcoCash agents service is back after a long absence following the suspension of its services by the central bank.

In a short message service sent out to Econet subscribers, EcoCash revealed that cash in and cash out transactions will be carried out in US$ from selected agents.

“You can cash in and cash out your US$ from OK Supermarkets, Mashwede and selected pharmacies everyday including Sundays,” read the sms.

EcoCash ceased cash-in and cash-out services in October 2019 following an order by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to stop the facility.

This was followed in June 2020 by a government directive that ordered individual mobile money transactions to be processed normally, whilst merchant lines were only allowed to facilitate incoming funds which were subsequently compelled to move money into bank accounts to make payments.

EcoCash eventually closed all agent lines and the Reserve Bank tightened foreign currency-related regulation.

An excerpt from the Monetary Policy Statement alleged that agent wallets were no longer serving any legitimate purpose and were being used primarily for illegal foreign exchange transactions.

The statement however allowed agents who were holding value in suspended and frozen wallets to  be allowed to liquidate the funds to their bank accounts.

Mobile payment operators, according to the statement then, were turning a blind eye and were even actively encouraging the abuse of bulk payment wallets for illegal foreign currency transactions, thereby earning lucrative transaction fees in the process.