Major Disruption is coming to the money transfer business in South Africa.

This business had previously been dominated by Mukuru, Bitkesh, Western union and informal money transfers through malaicha and bus drivers.


For the consumer, the barriers have been :
– High Transfer fees up to 20%
– Speed, it could take up to a week for the money to get to the receiver
– Security, some people have lost their money
– Bond note collection and uncertain exchange rates
– difficulty of sending as the process involved traveling to branches or agents who were in. Difficult to reach places

Cassava Ecocash which was launched in August 2019 has made it a easier for both the receiver and the sender.

It also has also made it possible for instant transfers to happen between Zimbabwe and South Africa using infrastructure that the receiver already has – their ecocash account.

This is how it works

1. The receiver makes sure their Ecocash FCA wallet is active. If not they do the following :

             Dial *151#

–              Enter 4 digit PIN

–              Select Wallet Services (Option 7)

–              Select Multi Currency (Option 5)

–              Select 1 (To activate multicurrency status)

2. The sender registers on Cassava Ecocash. This involves entering their information in South Africa and uploading KYC documents. This is all done online. The cassava Ecocash Contact Centre number  is +27 10 120 0800

3. Once the sender account  is activated, they are now ready to add recipients on the Cassava Ecocash app or website.

4. Sending Money Through Cassava Ecocash 
Sending money can be done using the app or on the website and it is a matter of clicking on the receiver.

The sender can take money directly from their bank account and send via a special arrangement that Ecocash has with South African Banks.

They can also send money through various big and established outlets such as pick n pay. You can the full list on the Cassava Ecocash website.

5. The receiver can then get their money either as cash  at ecocash bureau do change or directly into their ecocash FCA wallet.

6. If the receiver gets their money into their FCA Ecocash wallet, they do the following %

– Dial *150#
–  choose Option 2 – Sell USd
–  Enter amount

Any amount in the FCA remains as USD.

Cassava Ecocash has advantages to both the sender and the receiver which I see as game changers.

Specifically, Ecocash has a big footprint in Zimbabwe and the customers already understand how to use it.

Given the lack of cash in Zimbabwe, the receiver also avoids having to go to black market.

For receivers in Rural areas this also means they avoid travelling to cities as they have to do for services such as Mukuru and Western Union.

Finally, for the sender the ability to connect to their bank account, a working app, and instant transfers is a big advantage.

I am seeing a major shift coming to the Zimbabwe money transfer market ans Cassava Ecocash will be a big winner if they can handle customer support properly.