There is no shortage of domestic remittance options in Zimbabwe. By remittance, of course, we are talking about the transfer of USD within Zimbabwe. Everyone wants to participate in this lucrative business.
Zimpost has been in this business for a while. About a decade ago they launched zipcash, a local and international electronic money transfer service. The service still exists today. It has had its users but has not taken over the market.
Much has been written about why Zipcash Growth Stagnationd. The main reasons were little or no marketing and cash shortages at post offices.
Zimpost decided to try again and launched PostMoney late last year. This time they decided to rely on mobile devices and they are doing it in an interesting way.
We’ll get to the interesting way, but first of all, does PostMoney check enough boxes to be successful?
An extensive network of agents
All ZimPost outlets across the country operate as PostMoney branches. There are over 240 outlets and they are widely distributed. So while InnBucks has a comparable number of outlets, Zimpost has a better presence in rural areas. Even in my neighborhood in Mabelreign, we have a ZimPost but not a Simbisa store.
In the past, Zipcash couldn’t compete with the massive agent networks that mobile money players had, especially EcoCash. Those agent networks are no more and Zimpost is one of the best in that regard now.
PostMoney charges 7% like most of the competition. With 4% of that being taxes. Zipcash is even cheaper with only a total of 5% in fees meaning they only charge 1% with 4% being IMT tax.
That is What made you stumble upon Zipcash?p according to Zipcash MD. As we always talk, when it comes to USD, Zimbabweans use cash. When we receive money through these remittance services, we usually withdraw all of it as soon as possible.
So a remittance service that doesn’t have cash at its outlets is dead on arrival. I don’t know how PostMoney is doing in terms of cash availability. What I do know is that it is more difficult for them to solve this problem than it is for a competitor like InnBucks, which has cash flow in all its outlets.
PostMoney is still working on this. You currently cannot pay your bills or even buy airtime.
The PostMoney Party Trick
When you sign up for PostMoney, you get a little item called a SIM-Skin that sticks to your SIM card. SIM-Skin acts as a parasite and uses your SIM card to communicate with PostMoney servers. No matter what network you use, SIM-Skin will use that SIM card to send information.
When the SIM-Skin is attached, you get an app on your phone from which you can make transactions. In some cases, you will be able to access this application through the SIM toolkit on your phone. Without the SIM-Skin and the application you will not be able to make transactions.
What this means is that you don’t have to fiddle with USSD menus when using PostMoney. If it’s so inclined, it’s No. 99, but you don’t have to go that route. You also don’t need to have an active data package like you do if you want to use competing apps.
All of this sounds convenient to the user, but it comes at a literal cost. The SIM-Skin costs US$1. This means that it costs a lot to sign up for PostMoney. The competition does not charge anything to enroll someone.
Then there is the issue of the SIM-Skin getting out of contact with your SIM. If that happens, you’ll need to restore the connection first to use PostMoney. The problem is that you may not notice that the connection has been compromised until you want to make the transaction. That’s the worst time to find out and this can be a hassle.
If you change SIM cards regularly, I can see this feature getting on your nerves pretty quickly.
Do you think PostMoney will prosper?
On paper, it looks like PostMoney should take over the market, or at least compete. I think the marketing effort is what will ultimately decide whether it succeeds or becomes another flop.
Being government owned, Zimpost has to host competition at its many locations. This is in the name of financial inclusion. You know you can get your Access Forex funds at Zimpost across the country, right?
Therefore, PostMoney cannot have exclusive use of the good network of Zimpost branches.
That is not insignificant, but I maintain that the main obstacle is marketing. ZimPost doesn’t have the best of brand images. For a long time they were associated with a lack of ambition and innovation. It will take some effort to change that perception.
What do you think? Have you used PostMoney? How was the experience? What does Zimpost have to do for me to use the service over whatever solution I currently use?