Zim's EcoCash disables foreign payments on forex shortage

Harare – Zimbabwe's Econet Wireless has disabled international payments and transactions on its Mastercard-linked EcoCash mobile money debit card, citing foreign currency shortages.

EcoCash has over 5 000 registered users in Zimbabwe.

Cash and forex challenges are worsening by the day in Zimbabwe. The government has criticised unnecessary spending, saying foreign currency should be used for key imports such as electricity, medicine and raw materials.

The liquidity squeeze has seen banks impose limits on Visa and Mastercard cards. Holders of these cards require approval from their banks to use them abroad. 

Transactions disabled

Econet informed EcoCash users of the transaction policy change on Wednesday.  

“Please be advised that international transactions on the Debit Card have been suspended with immediate effect. We apologize for the inconvenience caused,” it said in a text message. 

The change was “due to the prevailing foreign currency shortages”. 

It said that from November 1, its debit card holders will be able to continue using their EcoCash cards outside Zimbabwe, after "pre-funding your card at your nearest Econet shop". 

The card remains in use within Zimbabwe, the company said.

The change means that EcoCash debit card users will now have to cash in hard currency upfront before being able to complete international transactions and payments. 

SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE UPDATE: Get Fin24's top morning business news and opinions in your inbox.

Read Fin24's top stories trending on Twitter:

ZAR/USD
16.93
(+0.72)
ZAR/GBP
21.57
(+0.88)
ZAR/EUR
19.76
(+0.98)
ZAR/AUD
11.93
(+1.38)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(+1.17)
Gold
1867.94
(+0.71)
Silver
23.17
(+5.69)
Platinum
848.00
(+1.91)
Brent Crude
41.98
(+0.17)
Palladium
2221.71
(+0.92)
All Share
54247.81
(+1.84)
Top 40
50127.05
(+2.04)
Financial 15
9588.13
(+0.19)
Industrial 25
74229.70
(+3.26)
Resource 10
53508.98
(+1.08)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Do you think it was a good idea for the government to approach the IMF for a $4.3 billion loan to fight Covid-19?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes. We need the money.
11% - 1359 votes
It depends on how the funds are used.
73% - 8816 votes
No. We should have gotten the loan elsewhere.
16% - 1947 votes
Vote