Econet Telecom Lesotho (ETL) has opened doors for individuals to use mobile technology to financial services without having a bank account. The telecommunications giant launched the first ever service called Eco cash ‘Spache – fono’, on Wednesday last week.
In his opening remarks, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ETL Nico Heyns said they do not promise people services but they actually put into practice. “Some service providers have a tendency of placing adverts and promise to come soon. We are not like that, we are actually here to serve and improve people’s lives,” said Heyns. According to Eco net’s spokesperson, Mpine Tente, not all people can afford to open a bank account.
“Eco net is stretching its hand to helping low income individuals and rural communities to financial services,” said Tente. Taking her turn at a press conference held in Maseru, general marketing Manager Palesa Kaloli said Eco net is paving the way for affordable money transfer tailored to the needs of Basotho. “We are just being faithful to our slogan ‘Inspired to change your world’; by being the first telecommunications company to answer to those who do not have access to bank services,” said Kaloli. She further added that the Eco cash is much cheaper than other means of transferring money. “Each transaction costs only five maloti (M5) and there are no charges of keeping money in the Eco cash account,” indicated Kaloli.
One has to register to get Eco cash services, dial *199# on his or her cell phone, and readily access the following services: keep money in their phone (mobile wallet), send money to Eco net customers and those of other networks, receive money from Eco net subscribers, buy airtime, buy goods from participating agents (almost similar to swiping a debit or credit card), receive your salary or pay utility bills.
In a case where money is being sent to another person, for instance, the recipient gets an SMS indicating a code he or she would either present at an Eco net Centre or Post Bank for withdrawal of the funds. Eco net has 15 centres across the country, while Post Bank has 46 stations in which Eco cash services would be available. Other outlets to offer the service will be appointed in due course.
Eco cash has a daily transfer limit of M500, weekly limit of M2 500 and monthly limit of M10000. It is applicable in all types of cellphones regardless of whether or not they are connected to the internet.
If the withdrawal of money is delayed for more than seven days by the recipient, the money will reflect back to the account of the transferor.