Find out more about Nyaradzo’s Sahwira Connect Card and the Zimbabwean payments mess it is solving for

Leonard Sengere Avatar

We talked about Nyaradzo’s Sahwira Connect Card earlier this month. It is a welcome innovation which should not have been needed but is. When we talked about the card we had a few questions and fortunately we managed to get answers from Nyaradzo.

Nyaradzo confirmed to us the problem being solved by the Sahwira Connect Card,

…Prior to us introducing the SahwiraConnect card, we were facing delays in the disbursement of funds to our clients, especially after the reduction on limits of mobile money transfers and the unavailability of cash…


We discussed this in the last article and I think all of us appreciate just how much more convenient mobile money is. Insurance and mobile money are (were?) a match made in heaven. 

Bank transfers are not nearly as instantaneous as mobile money transfers. Hence why my frustration with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe crippling mobile money is renewed every time I have to wait for an RTGS transfer to clear.

Nyaradzo confirmed that they too were being affected by the relatively slower RTGS transfers,

…we were experiencing delays with a majority of our disbursements, which resulted in a number of complaints coming from our customers. The delays sometimes meant that funds were received well after the funeral had been conducted.


This was not a small problem affecting a few customers, no. Nyaradzo says ‘a sizable amount [sic] of customers were affected from time to time.’ 

The Sahwira Connect card to the rescue

Nyaradzo decided to work with their bankers, ZB, who are rebranding by the way. So, ZB is the issuing bank and so technically the Sahwira Connect Card is a ZB card. Or even more technically, ZB is the bin sponsor.

Bin stands for Bank Identification Number and that bin uniquely identifies the bank (ZB) issuing the card. See, ZB already has the licences, is a member of the Deposit Protection Scheme and can use National Payments infrastructure. 

Bin sponsorship allows Nyaradzo to ‘piggyback’ off that as opposed to applying for licences and setting up new business units to handle the card and all that it entails.

That’s all good, you think, but wonder what the RBZ thinks about all this. After all, we were excited about a certain InnBucks at one point only to have it shut down. 

Nyaradzo assures us that everything is on the up and up with the Sahwira Connect Card. They say ZB advised them that all is in order and so I think barring any drastic U-turns by the RBZ (which you can’t count against unfortunately) the card is here to stay.

How does the card solve the problem we discussed above though?

The Sahwira Connect card allows us to disburse the funds instantaneously. The client can leave our offices with funds disbursed onto the card. When the client comes to our offices for the funeral consultation, they can leave with a funded card. The card has worked very well in solving the challenge we were facing.


That will do the trick. Going from some clients receiving funds well after the funeral to ensuring a client leaves a Nyaradzo branch with a funded card is a big win.

Through the Sahwira Connect Card, the funds take less than an hour to get to the recipient’s account from the moment the card is loaded, irrespective of holiday or weekend periods.


That’s huge because one of the main reasons for clients receiving their payouts late came from RTGS transfers not being processed on weekends and holidays. 

That was a mess for Nyaradzo because if a client needed a payout after the RTGS cut off on a Friday, those funds would only be processed on the following Monday and could reflect in the client’s account in the worst cases on a Tuesday. 

That’s no longer a problem for Nyaradzo.

Okay, once the funeral is over, what happens with the card?

Clients can continue using the card and it becomes essentially just a ZB card. A Zimswitch enabled card just like any other but which carries no monthly fees. So, it would appear the Sahwira Connect card is linked to a ‘ZB Lite account’ of some sort.

As regards the card:

-Customers can deposit funds into the card directly using the available channels offered by [ZB Bank]

-Clients can withdraw cash from any Zimswitch enabled device, ATM or from ZB bank

Clients can make transfers to other bank accounts but for this to happen the client will need to register the card for mobile banking. Once registered the card can work on the ZIPIT platform…

-The card is enabled for ZIPIT which allows transfers to both Ecocash & One Money. Also the ZB platform allows the card to conduct Bank to Wallet and Wallet to Bank on Ecocash.

-The card does not have any monthly charges. It just has the normal bank transactional charges. No monthly fees, just transaction charges.

If you are a Nyaradzo customer and want to get in on this action, unfortunately at the moment the card is only released to support a claim. You cannot proactively get the card. Nyaradzo said ‘at the moment’ and so imagine in the future customers will be able to get the card before they have to make a claim.

You should also read:

Zim forcing companies to innovate in payments – Nyaradzo introduces Sahwira Connect Card

Local startup puts TVs on people’s satchels, literally taking ads to the streets

Bereka, the local startup delivering Mukuru remittances to your doorstep



What’s your take?

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  1. Thanos

    Looks like that card is behind technology not chip n pin protected.

  2. The Empress

    I can’t wait to find out how RBZ F’s this one up

    1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

      It’s actually a prevalent practice, a number of loyalty cards, even Zinara cards, are white label bank cards. Some just have extra restrictions on what they can do and where they can be swiped.

  3. John

    Why doesn’t ecocash piggyback on Stewart bank to increase its limits and withdrawals

  4. Victor

    Honestly, I don’t understand the hype.
    1. Good product yes, but only as far as the use case is concerned, at a corporate level.
    Kudos to Nyaradzo for realizing they could do this but I don’t understand the pain point being addressed. Is it that they could not make instant RTGS transfers (i.e. Internet banking) even via ZIPIT? Is it that perhaps all payments have to be signed for on a transfer request form signed by authorized signatories, in which case the weekend is out?

    2. Regarding the technique behind the functionality, this sounds like just a regular Zimswitch value store Card.