Millions of people in Zimbabwe, who are believed to be failing to access banking facilities, can now open bank accounts without any hassles as EcoCash in conjunction with Steward Bank on Wednesday launched a mobile phone-based savings account.
Launching the ECOCASHSAVE account in the capital, representatives of the two Econet Wireless Zimbabwe subsidiaries said potential clients only need to be registered with EcoCash to open a savings account which is intended to benefit people in rural areas, vendors, small-scale farmers and other groups of people who do not meet strict requirements demanded by banks for one to open an account.
Chief executive officer Cuthbert Tembedza of EcoCash said there is no minimum deposit for this type of account and individuals can save as little as a dollar in the ECOCASHSAVE account.
The account, Mr. Tembedza said, is aimed at fostering a culture of saving and encouraging communities to build capital to start or improve businesses.
Steward Bank chief executive officer, Kwanele Ngwenya, said the new product will cater for those people that have been left out by traditional banks.
Statistics from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe show that only about 853,000 out of a population about 13 million people access banking facilities.
It is difficult for those out of formal employment and peasants to have bank accounts as banks demand proof of income, proof of residence, a $10 to $100 initial deposit and many other documents before one can open an account.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe chief executive, Douglas Mboweni, said his company has invested a lot in base stations and other infrastructure in an effort to transform people’s lives.
Econet has more than eight million subscribers countrywide and Zimbabwe has a huge mobile phone penetration rate.