Western Union Enters Zimbabwe

Western Union

VENTURES AFRICA – Global money transfer giant Western Union (WU) is now handling Zimbabwean transactions as rivalry to hit the unbanked monies deepens in the troubled southern African country.

This comes as an influx of various money transfer platforms are being launched by mobile network companies such as Econet Zimbabwe’s Ecocash and NetOne’s One Wallet.

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed supermarket chain OK Zimbabwe also recently acquired a mobile money transfer license. Similar to other transfer platforms on the market, WU enables locals to send and receive money within Zimbabwe without the need of a bank account.

WU is a provider of money transfer services in the world with one of the largest distribution networks in Africa. It originally offered international transfer services only in Zimbabwe.

On Friday, WU said the requirements to send money are a sender’s name, the sending city/town of origin, money transfer control number and the amount sent. A receiver is able to access money within minutes of sending and is subject to agent locations. People sending between $25 and $50 pay a $2 commission, while $3 will be charged for sending $51-$100.

Amounts above $150 attract a four percent charge. WU local agents include Kingdom Bank’s Microking, Easy Link and POSB among others.

Following a crisis in the country’s banking sector and subsequent dollarisation of the economy, Zimbabweans have avoided formal financial services with over $2 billion estimated to be unbanked.

Zimbabwe’s Daily News quoted Gideon Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank in Zimbabwe, as saying Zimbabwe’s level of financial inclusion — the proportion of the population using financial products and services, both formal and informal — is very low.