Zimbabwean cross-border traders accustomed to carrying large sums of cash on trips to South Africa and Botswana - and running the risk of armed robbery - are shifting to the use of electronic cards that allow them to tap South African rand while abroad.
Cross Border Traders Association President Killer Zivhu said hundreds of informal traders have opened accounts at a bank offering such a facility. Zivhu declined to name the bank, but other sources identified it as the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe.
Zivhu said that there are many benefits for account holders. “Cardholders are eligible to get some kind of insurance cover in case of injuries or death in accidents while travelling to and from many countries,” the traders association president said.
But informal trader Jima Ririmba voiced skepticism about using electronic bank cards.
“At one time we used to have bank accounts linked to foreign banks and when we accessed cash in South Africa and Botswana, we used to be charged some unexplained interests. This resulted in most of us to stop using those accounts and as such we feel that the same is bound to happen [if we join] this new scheme,” Ririmba said.
Economic commentator Masimba Kuchera however commended the traders association for innovation on behalf of its members.