Ecocash agents thrive despite cash-out cap

By Tendai Sahondo

MOBILE money agents have resorted back to selling cash at a premium after the Central Bank removed a temporary ban on the Cash-out facility, instead, capping it at $100 per transaction.

A snap survey conducted by The Business Connect revealed that agents, most prominently from EcoCash, were selling cash at a premium of between 35-45% for coins, while notes were being sold at a 60% premium.

The development has effectively rendered useless the new cash-out cap, as agents are still able to sell cash within the $100 bracket.

Announcing the new measures, Mangudya said the cash-out cap was designed to protect the public from abuse by unscrupulous economic agents

“Payment systems by their nature play an important role of providing a mechanism or highway to facilitate economic activities in the country. As such, the Reserve Bank continues to promote digital financial services, which contribute to financial inclusion and stability. Cognizance of that, enhanced monitoring mechanisms have been put in place by both the Reserve Bank and Payment System Providers to mitigate against abuse of payment systems and ensure abusers are brought to book. To this end, System Providers and Agents are hereby advised that the cash-out facility is now capped at $100 per transaction with immediate effect. Related to that, existing operational cash in and cash-back limits shall remain,” he said.

Furthermore, Mangudya said the Reserve Bank will be injecting cash into the economy without changing money supply.

“In this regard, banks will exchange existing RTGS balances for cash thus maintaining the monetary base unchanged. Financial institutions and Agents are required to strictly adhere to the Know Your Customer (KYC) and Customer Due Diligence (CDD) principles for all their customers at all times and ensure that there is no abuse of the payment systems. Going forward, the Financial Intelligence Unit shall enhance monitoring of financial activities to ensure compliance,” he added.

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