Econet reviews EcoCash mobile money transfer tariffs

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar

Econet has announced through adverts in the press the ‘reduction’ of tariffs of its mobile money transfer service, EcoCash. The move follows a directive from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and general pressure from the market to review the charges. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe  Governor, in his 31 January Monetary Policy Statement, issued a directive to mobile operators to review their charges by end of March 2013.

Here’s a breakdown of the new tariffs as advertised:

Tariffs Effective 11 March 2013
Lower Value ($) Upper Value ($) Send Money Tarrif ($) Cash Out Registered Tariff Cash Out Unregistered Tariff
          1.00        2.00                 0.09  n/a  n/a
          2.01        5.00                 0.09             0.20                   0.40
          5.01      10.00                 0.19             0.30                   0.50
        10.01      20.00                 0.39             0.60                   0.90
        20.01      30.00                 0.59             0.90                   1.20
        30.01      40.00                 0.79             1.20                   1.50
        40.01      50.00                 0.99             1.50                   2.50
        50.01      75.00                 1.49             2.30                   3.50
        75.01    100.00                 1.95             3.00                   5.00
      100.01    150.00                 2.45             3.50                   6.00
      150.01    200.00                 2.95             3.90                   6.60
      200.01    300.00                 3.95             4.85                   7.00
      300.01    400.00                 4.30             4.90                   8.70
      400.01    500.00                 4.49             4.95                   9.50

The new tariffs are effective today. According to the adverts, the tariff reduction makes the service up to 34% cheaper. The marketing push for the review is that it makes EcoCash “better”, “simpler” and “cheaper”.

Here’s an image of the old tariffs which is still up on the Econet website:


As you may notice where, previously, tariffs where based on a percentage, now they are specific values for the 14 value ranges starting at $1 up to $500.

In terms of the actual percentage changes, transferring smaller amounts has actually become more expensive, while transferring larger amounts has become significantly cheaper. For example where transferring $1 used to cost 2 cents (2%), now it costs 9 cents (9%). In comparison, transferring a large amount of say $450, now costs less – $6 on old tariffs and now $4.49 (just 1%) on new tariffs.

While there is indication from other markets that most transactions are small value in the $1 – $35, we have no idea what size of transaction is the average locally. Depending on the answer to that question, EcoCash tariffs may actually have effectively increased.

Another key change with the adjusted tariffs is that where an EcoCash user used to pay more charges to transfer money to an unregistered user (7% in total), now they pay the same fees regardless of registration status of the recipient. Reciprocally, where an unregistered recipient used to withdraw cash for free, now they have to pay something; as much as 20% for small amounts and 2% for the larger amounts.

The tariff reduction is the second since launch in September 2011. The first was a reactive reduction soon after launch following sentiments that the launch tariffs were ridiculously high.

It’s not clear yet how all this affects agents in terms of commission. We’ll be posting more definitive data on the tariff review as we get the updates. Here are the adverts published in the local press:





  1. macdchip

    If banks want to compete they can totally drop all those unnecessary charges.

    Its only in Zimbabwe were banks charges everything and survive mainly on that not the actual business of banking.

    1. chanyane

      Good point. Lets hope they are listening…

    2. chandida

      not that i disagree.. .but it would have been nicer if you included some figures and examples.. kuti kwamuri ikoko zvinoita marii, nekuti i understand the ‘same’ charges apply in south africa

      1. macdchip

        It cost nothing to transfer to someone’s account, cost nothing to withdraw, check balance, pay and receive.

        It cost the bank some money if l keep my account loaded as they will have to pay me interest.

        1. Dogstar

          I totally agree. Why pay for using the service when am already part of the system? Pay to deposit into bank account, pay to withdraw, interest that is supposed to earn on my balance is close to rock bottom. Actually, banking money is a lose making process altogether.

          Econet knows that not many people don’t transfer $300 yet it’s cheaper to do so. i think there are more transfers happening below $100. The $10, $20 $50 transfers. Why would it be more expensive to transfer around that range but not the higher “transactional” amounts?

          As usual, get them hooked, add more niceties to the Econet cauldron and then rip them apart when they are “properly” juiced. Now even if you feel it’s too high, where can you go to get the same service?

          1. zeroecocash account

            Econet are thieves kuba mari chaiyo , day light robbing , try CELLCARD WITH ATM cardless, POS , INTERNET AND USSD functions

        2. John

          Of course it costs money at a bank to do things, its a business, it costs them when ever you do anything on your account. They have employees that work there, they have licensing costs, they have fees for almost anything that they do.

          Not to mention they all have to front huge amounts of money just to be a bank.

          Do remember that banks are probably the most regulated business you can have which also comes at a cost since all risk needs to be taken into account, audits, security hardware/software etc.

          I do agree you should be charged to deposit money, but to my knowledge I havnt heard of a bank that does.

          1. macdchip

            Bt unlike Zimbo bankers, my bank is creative enough to stay away from charging everything being charged in Zim.

            And they stil can afford to meet their expenses and even buying other banks.

  2. zimictfan

    This tariff reduction is most welcome. I think some popular bands above 100 USD in my view have become cheaper which will be good for some of us who send money to the villages. A banded tariff always has its challenges but its better than the % model because it looked to be complex and was expensive. Thanks Ecocash!

  3. Mzaya

    The new tariffs are simpler to understand now. No need to break out a calculator to figure out what it will cost to do a transaction. On this issue: “For example where transferring $1 used to cost 2 cents (2%), now it costs 9 cents (9%)”, I think it makes business sense to cap your lowest fee – especially with the amounts of Capex invested on systems such as these. This tariff is friendlier for sure.

    Also, when I factor in the convenience this service offers in comparison to ALL other available transacting means in Zim, any premiums being charged make sense.

  4. FixerO

    They should be made to review their internet tariffs as well.

  5. Stupid

    Perhaps I am just stupid but to me this Ecocash thing has not been explained. Of what use is it to the general person who is not interested in sending money ‘home’ or paying for ‘taxi’ fares? In addition their constant advertising smss are just annoying!

    1. Mhukahuru

      Your name says it all

  6. kay

    Sending large amount of money using a bank is still cheaper than ecocash, banks charges apply on withdrawal only. With ecocash you are hit back and front.

    1. zimictfan

      To send $5 using EcoCash one is charged 9 cents while TextaCash charges 25 cents and some other banks charge as high as $1. For sending $500 EcoCash charges $4.49 while TextaCash charges $5.20 and some banks will charge as high as $6. This is interesting lets see how other players will react!

      1. orisub

        Try CellCard , for instance to withdrwal 1000 USD yu only charged one dollar usd

  7. Loyd Kambuzuma

    EconetWireless still need to slash Eco-cash tariffs by half…

    1. Mzaya

      Don’t you understand that there is a cost to convenience? If something makes your life significantly easier it shouldn’t come at a cost lower than what was there before – that doesn’t make sense. Why should the tariff be slashed by half? What’s your justification, out of curiosity?

      1. Loyd Kambuzuma

        Econet should slash rates to entice customers!

  8. proud2Bzim

    Ecocash are still still making approximately the same amount of money – they are not taking a financial hit at all – look at the what they are charging people to cash out!! In the past unregistered users could cash out for free – now its going to cost them $1.20 to receive $30.00! Plus those receiving cash are probably in real need of every penny … Ecocash is laughing all the way to the ‘bank’ (excuse the pun)

    1. Dogstar

      …Ecocash is laughing all the way to the ‘bank’ (excuse the pun)…Rephrase. Ecocash is laughing all the way to their TN Bank’

  9. tinm@n

    It would be really nice to get bank charges and have a proper comparison with banks. People can verify by comparing with what they are charged on the ground… the true (cost benefit).

  10. Chaiyo Hosting | The Best Online Hosting

    […] Econet reviews EcoCash mobile money transfer tariffs – … – Econet has announced through adverts in the press the ‘reduction’ of tariffs of its mobile money transfer service, EcoCash. The move follows a directive from the … […]

  11. Proud Kambini

    I often use EcoCash for all my money transferring especially banking. I feel it easy since EcoCash Agents are almost everywhere just like traffic Police which makes it easy to deposit, withdrew, send money or even receive money.
    As I know EcoCash is more convenient in the sense that you can transact money during weekends and holidays when the banks are closed.
    However I’m now facing two challenges;
    1. I’m failing to transact my money from my Wallet to my bank Account. This problem has been prevailing for about two months now. Whenever I try to do the transaction it says; ‘No Service Charge is Defined’. At first I thought the problem would be soon be over but to my surprise it is still not verified. I even called to Econet- EcoCash customer care and they told me that they are attending then after a while they send me a message saying that the service is now on, of which it was not true because I tried again and it was saying the same thing. However, if I want to withdrew from the bank to my Wallet, I’m not facing an problem.
    Please try by all means to solve that problem because my business is now paused.
    2. I want to be an EcoCash Agent so that I can help to improve the convenient way of transacting cash since I deal with cash in my Office. So I faced one problem that they want me to register a Company first. Right now I’m not registered and I don’t have cash to register a company since I’m still young in business. Please try to find other ways for me to be registered as an Agent without company’s registration.
    I thank you very much.