MUTARE: Foreign currency dealers in this eastern border city have switched to the use of the One Money mobile money platform to buy hard currency from individuals as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) piles more pressure on the more popular EcoCash.
The local currency has been rapidly sliding against the US dollar and RBZ governor John Mangudya has partly blamed foreign currency dealers using EcoCash of causing the decline of the Zimbabwe dollar through illicit deals.
The RBZ’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has since written to EcoCash chief executive Natalie Jabangwe and Eddie Chibi, a director, warning they faced penalty charges for allegedly destabilising the country’s economy through their failure to manage the system and curb illegal foreign currency trade.
However, investigations by NewZimbabwe.com revealed that alert money changers were migrating from Ecocash to One Money mobile money platform to cover their tracks and possible arrests.
The One Money and Zipit platforms are also gaining popularity with individuals selling foreign currency as they offer high rates compared to Ecocash.
On Saturday, dealers were paying ZWL63 to US$1 on One Money, ZWL$60 for Zipit, and ZWL$58 on Ecocash.
A local money changer who declined to be named said they have switched to One Money due to uncertainty and restrictions on EcoCash imposed by the RBZ.
“It’s difficult to deal with Ecocash these days, most accounts were frozen and we are now skeptical,” the money dealer said.
Another money changer who only identified himself as Fantan said he was now opting for Zipit and One Money platforms as they were fewer inconveniences in using them compared to EcoCash.
One Money is owned by the country’s second-largest mobile service provider NetOne, a State-owned company.
“One Money is better and more people are migrating to NetOne. Ecocash is giving us problems and our agent lines are being frozen without notice. Last time I lost quite a substantial amount of money when my account was blacklisted,” said Fantan.
Other illegal money traders said although EcoCash has more subscribers compared to NetOne, its war with the RBZ was impacting heavily on their operations and they were now opting to use Zipit and One Money.