First it was the bond notes that were rejected by the informal sector and now it’s EcoCash.
Indeed, some informal businesses are now rejecting accepting payments through the largest mobile money platform, EcoCash.
Those informal businesses not accepting EcoCash are simply rejecting EcoCash payments by saying that the EcoCash platform is currently down when,in fact, it’s perfectly working.
Why is EcoCash being rejected?
All mobile money agents are suspended from facilitating mobile financial transactions with immediate effect.
b) All merchant transactions are suspended excerpts for receiving payments for goods and services………..
This meant that mobile money Merchants and Agents could not withdraw funds from their wallets through the mobile money system. RBZ only allowed them to withdraw their funds through the banking system.
c) All mobile money liquidations should be done through the banking system.
Now the thing is, some businesspeople in the informal sector didn’t link their Agent and Merchant EcoCash wallets with their bank accounts such that they can liquidate/withdraw their funds “through the banking system”.
Given this, at the moment they can’t withdraw the money received in their EcoCash wallets until the RBZ lifts the ban placed on Agent and Merchant withdrawals. As a result, informal businesses are rejecting EcoCash fearing that their money could be stuck in wallets for a long time.
If you consider that the value of the Zimbabwe dollar is tumbling on the official market as well as on the black market, having money stuck in EcoCash wallet for a while is disadvantageous to businesspeople.
How are customers buying in the informal sector?
It’s a good question considering that most of the informal small business in Zimbabwe get their revenue from customers who make payments with EcoCash.
Well, since the economy is self-dollarizing, some people are buying stuff with the coveted US dollars. Others are buying using cash in the form of Zimbabwe dollars. And just a handful of informal businesses with Point of Sale machines are allowing customers to buy using “Swipe”.
Will informal businesses people get arrested for rejecting EcoCash?
Last week, the police arrested over 100 business owners who were caught rejecting bond notes. In light of this, if you are an informal business owner, you are probably wondering if you in danger of getting arrested for rejecting EcoCash payments.
But, No, the police won’t come down on businesses not accepting EcoCash. You see, EcoCash is different to physical Zimbabwe dollars in that EcoCash is a just a payment platform whilst physical Zimbabwe dollars are actually the country’s currency – the legal tender.
Therefore, you are at liberty to reject transactions from a certain type of payment but you can legally get crucified by law enforcement authorities for rejecting a legal tender.