Here’s The Fastest, Cheapest Way to Send Money Out Of Zimbabwe…

Ecocash agent sign

There are times that you may want to send your family/relatives money when they are either at school or working and living out the country. Yes, the US$ has been difficult to come by of late and if you can save when doing such a transfer all the better.

This method assumes that you need to send money to a foreign country often (maybe once a month) and that that country you are trying to send funds to have ATM machines that accept MasterCards. If those boxes are ticked, then here goes:

Get an Ecocash MasterCard

Visit your nearest Ecocash agent and buy a $2 physical MasterCard from them. You will need you to go there with your phone that has your Econet mobile number that is linked to your Ecocash account. After you do the payment, they will then link your card to your Ecocash account.

An alternative method to this is to have the person who you will be sending money to buy an Ecocash MasterCard when they are in Zimbabwe and link it to their account. The only challenge with this method is that that person will have to make sure their Ecocash line remains active and if they go out the country for longer than 3 months it could prove to be a challenge. I’d suggest going with the top option.

Send Card

Once you have secured the card send it to the person to who you would like to be doing the transfer. Send the card separately from the PIN. If it is to a country in the region, go to where the buses depart from (either Mbare or Road Port in Harare) and speak to a bus driver to take the card for you. I normally pay $5 to send stuff to Francistown, Botswana and it arrives the same day.

You can send the PIN for the card through WhatsApp or even SMS to the person, but make sure that when giving the person who is taking it that they do not have the PIN and that there is no money in the card as well. Further, check with the agent how you can activate and deactivate the card from your account. Make sure that it is in the deactivated state when you are sending it.

Deposit Funds

Once the person to whom you want to transfer the money has received the card, the next step is for you to visit any Ecocash agent and deposit funds into your account. Or if there are funds in it already just activate the card.

Withdraw Funds

The person who has the card now just needs to visit any MasterCard enabled ATM or a point of sale in a supermarket and makes the withdrawal as if it is their card. They need to make sure that they remember the PIN when using an ATM because if it is swallowed they will not be able to retrieve it because they are not you.

Is It Legal?

Yes, it is very legal. Ecocash allows you to link up to 5 MasterCards to your Ecocash account obviously because they want you to do more transactions on your account. However, there are legal limits as to how much you can withdraw per transaction ($500 or its equivalent in foreign currency), per day ($3,000) and per month ($5,000).