EXCLUSIVE – How to use MasterCard with Telecash

William Chui Avatar
Here's how to use MasterCard with telecash in Zimbabwe
Here's how to use MasterCard with telecash in Zimbabwe
Here’s how to use MasterCard with Telecash in Zimbabwe

For those of you who are avid online buyers, here’s a hack that will allow you to use your MasterCard with Telecash.

This solution has been available ever since Telecash launched in Zimbabwe and has been possible because of their “interoperability”. Enjoy!!! (You can thank me later)

What you will need to use MasterCard with Telecash

  1. A cellphone that can run USSD sessions
  2. A Telecel SIM card
  3. A Telecash account
  4. An FBC bank account

So here’s how it will work; Register your Telecel SIM card (as POTRAZ have become heavy on that) and do the necessary Telecash registration as well. You will then need to open yourself a FBC bank account. (This will not work with their prepaid card representatives at the bank have told me, you will see why shortly)

Once you have the bank account be sure to ask them to give you an account that comes with a MasterCard.(Oh, and apply for the MasterCard as well)

Right, now that you have all that done, here’s the major key point that makes this happen: Telecash has interoperability with FBC through their links to ZimSwitch. This effectively means that you can push cash to Telecash from selected banks and you can also push cash to these same banks through your mobile wallet as well.

Visit any Telecash agent and deposit funds into your account – it’s FREE. (That’s if you’re like me and seldom keep your account funded)

On your Telecash menu (*888#) select option 6. Banking Services, then 1. ZIPIT-Wallet to bank. Select 5. FBC Bank, then enter Account Number (this is your FBC bank account number) and then enter Amount that you would like to fund your FBC account withyour PIN number and confirm the transaction.

There is a small transaction fee (should be the same as what it costs you to cash out with Telecash) but this gives you the ability to deposit funds anywhere (well, at least where there is a Telecash agent) and anytime. (OK, not 24/7 but within the time frame of your agent – would be great if our ATM’s allowed us to deposit funds, a lot like what happens in other countries)

Once the funds are in your FBC account, you can now use the MasterCard that FBC issued you to transact online. You can even link it to your PayPal account and access a whole lot of services.

The draw back on such a service, is that FBC has a monthly service fee ($5 “at the time of going to press”) on their bank accounts. I know, I know, they fail to get it, but that’s why they didn’t make me the Head of Operations, right?

There is also the charge to move money from Telecash to the bank account, though like cashing out there is still a cost to it. Every penny counts you know. If you already have a need for a bank account (perhaps you have your salary going through it) or better yet, it’s an FBC account, then why not try out this hack and be able to use your Telecash account to “essentially” transact through MasterCard?

With this solution having been available since the birth of Telecash, we wonder what has kept both parties from sharing such great news to us techies and wannabe startups? Me thinks perhaps it is because of the relationship that Telecel has with each of the banks and can not be seen to be promoting any one service from the banks over another.

FBC might also be holding out to hopefully integrate with Ecocash one day. Do you foresee yourself using connecting your MasterCard with Telecash? How can it be improved by either provider to make it better for you?

Disclosure: The writer consults for Telecel Zimbabwe and the views expressed here are solely his and not of any company or of TechZim’s

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  1. mr cool

    how much does it cost to deposit cash straight to th card (via fbc)

  2. William Chui

    Hey “Mr Cool”,
    Thanks for reading.
    There is no charge to deposit money into the FBC account. They don’t have the facility to top up your card, because this card is not a prepaid, preloaded card. The card draws money from your account.

    The Telecash hack allows you to deposit funds from multiple locations (you don’t have to visit their banking halls) and during out of banking hours times. That’s the advantage

  3. Anonymous

    These are the benefits of inter-operabilty, with this in mind, TeleCash off the bench can link up to one’s Visa Card as well.

    1. William Chui

      Thanks for that comment. I’m not too sure how they can link to Visa “off the bench”, do you mind sharing? Is this with a particular bank? Which one? Standard Chartered? CBZ?

  4. candy

    The sticky issue remains tht of the need to open a bank account which will accrue service charges! I would personally love a situation where they can link up Prepaid Mastercard as well, i dont know how. I think i will be the next telecash customer if they do this. Its a positive development.

    1. William Chui

      Sure Candy, it would be the best. Telecash have already launched their Debit Card (though I have had a look at it and the numbers are not in the Visa range), it would be best as a follow on for that card to be link to either Visa or MasterCard.

      1. Candy

        If Telecash Debit Card is linked to MasterCard, I will simply by a Telecel line and dump Prepaid MasterCard. Its more convenient than the bank. As long as the charges are equal to the Prepaid MasterCard.

  5. Samson

    Like I have a bank account with standard chartered with a visa card as well. Would it really be advantageous to open an fbc account for the sake of telecash? But telecash must be given credit. It has brought something new to the dimensions of mobile money banking in zim. Ecocash will be facing stiff challenges. Lastly, the other major issue collectively, is, how secure are is mobile money banking and online transactions through mediums such as mastercard and visa cards. For someone with hard earned money, to part away with even a dollar to fraud, is grievous.

  6. Tonde

    Not that compelling.

  7. Cool Guy

    Great article William. So in essence the issue here is about convenience of depositing funds anytime? I mean if I just open an FBC account and deposit money into it it has the same outcome but with lesser charges?

  8. juss

    “hack” is such a strong word. Remember the “ecocash hack” article a while back. When they are functionalities we are supposed to use and we use them in a different way and we call it a “hack”.

    lets have a hackers convention. We will invite cabbage farmers who realise that they can use excess cabbages as manure. And not forgetting housewives who realise pos transactions are cheaper than atm withdrawal at Nmb. Zimbabwean hackers!

  9. Anonymous

    All this with no PCI complience really or its pay as you go master card which is not so great considering the charges!

  10. Thabani

    Is it possible to make online transactions with only the telecash gold card

  11. Boy

    It would have been really great if Telecash Goldcard had come linked to Mastercard directly off the mark like how Ecocash Debit Card works. I’m still hopelessly waiting …