The biggest challenge with earning money online in Zimbabwe is getting paid, it is also one of the most important factors in making money online. I personally think this is the greatest holdup with Zimbabweans earning money online.
There are platforms specifically designed around people being able to sell their services online and the only restriction to everyone in Zimbabwe being able to make money through these platforms is the challenge in receiving the payment.
Here we are going to look at all the possible ways of receiving money, some are simple, some are not, but out of these I hope you will be able to find a way that works for you.
Paynow is a local payment gateway developed by WebDev in Zimbabwe that facilitates online payments.
PayNow is just a payment gateway, they do not hold on to money they simply facilitate the transaction from the payer into your account. Unlike PayPal where you can keep your money in their system and use it from there, a payment received through PayNow will simple receive the money and deposit it directly into your bank account.
They can receive payments from:
ZimSwitch Vpayments: Vpayments is an online payments platform run by ZimSwitch and is currently accepting payments from customers banked at CABS, CBZ, FBC Bank, POSB, Trust Bank and ZB Bank.
Visa / MasterCard: Both locally issued Visa / MasterCard cards and international Visa / MasterCard Debit and Credit cards will work on Paynow. Zimbabwean banks with Visa / MasterCard support include Barcleys, EcoBank, FBC Bank, Kingdom, NMB, Standbic, Standard Chartered, Steward Bank and others.
EcoCash: Paynow will accept payment from any registered EcoCash line.
OneMoney: OneMoney registered customers can make payment on Paynow.
TeleCash: TeleCash registered customers can make payment on Paynow.
How and when do you receive your money:
Paynow will settle your transactions, less fees into any Zimbabwean bank account. You do not need a special merchant account and do not need to complete any forms with your bank, simply register your settle account details with Paynow to start receiving payments.
In the case of locally switched payments (Ecocash, Telecash, OneMoney and Vpayments), settlement will be executed one day after the payment is made or the funds clear escrow/Buysafe. Local Visa / MasterCard funds will be settled two days after the payment date and foreign Visa/Mastercard payments will settle three days after the payment is made. Settlement cut off time is 8pm, payments processed after that may be delayed till the next day settlement.
All non-Verified Merchant accounts will have funds settled once per week on a Tuesday.
How much does it cost?
Paynow has no signup or usage fee, the only charge is a per transaction commission. Please view the Fees page for more information. As the merchant you have the option whether to absorb the fees, add them on top of the transaction amount or split the fees with the customer. Large volume customers can approach Paynow directly for a bulk commission discount.
For more information on using the PayNow service you can visit this page: https://www.paynow.co.zw/Home/MerchantTutorial
They offer a WordPress plugin, a Shopify plugin, HTML buttons you can add to web pages or in emails that will take people to an online form where they can make payment using one of the above options.
Using PayNow is the easiest way to receive payments.
While PayNow can give you the ability to receive payments simply, it does not work for you to receive payments from online platforms such as youtube, ebay, amazon, fiverr, or any similar platform. They will simply help individuals locally and internationally to purchase directly from you using local payment platforms or international Visa and Mastercard cards. The also do not work with international bank transfers, and you cannot receive payments from PayPal, only Visa and Mastercard Cards.
Mobile payment platforms offer instant local payments but are limited when it comes to international payments. It looks like EcoCash can receive payments from international platforms like WorldRemit and EcoCash Remit but I am not sure if the other mobile payment platforms can.
The advantage of mobile payments is that they immediately settle local transactions, although, if you were to use them on your website it would be a manual process of verifying the payment unlike with PayNow which will verify the payment for you automatically. But there is a delay of a varying amount of days depending on the payment method is used on PayNow.
I haven’t used WorldRemit myself, I did setup an account for the purpose of this article, everything went simply enough and I did a trial payment from a Visa card to EcoCash, it didn’t take long before I received an email notifying me my account has been closed and a refund for the transaction is being processed, so it might not actually be as simple as it seems.
With the options available through WorldRemit is makes it rather simple to get money from outside of Zimbabwe, someone who wants to send you money can simply use their Visa or Mastercard cards.
When you receive money you will receive it in US$ so you need to have the appropriate account setup to receive US$ payments, if you are receiving a bank transfer you need to have a US$ account setup with your bank, the other option is to collect US$ cash from one of their agents in Zim and the final option is to receive a mobile money, this will deposit the US$ amount directly into your mobile money wallet.
It only takes minutes to register on WorldRemit and then a payment can be made by the sender using a Visa or Mastercard.
I Hadn’t used EcoCash Remit before this but I setup an account with them, attached their required documents and waited to be approved. It took about 24 hours for the approval and once that was done I did a test transfer. It worked easily with a Visa card payment to an EcoCash account in Zimbabwe.
EcoCash Remit offers to send money to Zimbabwe from a Visa or Mastercard from anywhere in the world. The options are send money to a Cash Pick-up & Mobile Money. The Mobile Money option will pay into EcoCash USD account and you can then move it into your EcoCash wallet at the bank rate. The only other option is to try and get the USD cash from an EcoCash agent.
I haven’t used Mukuru so I don’t have any first hand experience with it.
Mukuru offers money transfer services. Looking on their website it says that the amounts are in $10 increments although I could not get it to calculate for less than $20 so it appears the minimum amount may be US$20.
On their website it says you will need:
- Proof of Identity
- Proof of Income
- Proof of Residency
It is a little unclear from their website what payment options they have, I can’t tell if you have to do a bank transfer to them or deposit cash at one of their agents or if they will accept a Visa or Mastercard. It does appear that you have to create an account and then go to one of their agents to send money.
Their agents consist of Pick n Pay, Spar, Pep, Shoprite, Checkers, Makro, Game and others so it shouldn’t be difficult to get to an agent, but if the person sending you money has a Visa or Mastercard this seems like a complicated option, the others so far are simpler.
I have not sent money personally with Western Union although I have received a couple of payments through it in Zimbabwe. The process was simple enough the times I used it although there is the possible issues of availability of cash in Zimbabwe.
Western Union offers money transfer services and you can send money from anywhere in the world although the requirements they have will depend on the country you are sending from, it will tell you on their website what they need when you go to the “send money” page.
From their website it looks like you have to go to an agent and deposit cash with them, and then you can choose how the recipient can receive the money, you can send the payment as a cash transfer so the receiver can collect cash from an agent in Zimbabwe, or you can send to mobile money, or transfer to a bank account.
I haven’t used MoneyGram and assume it works the same as Western Union.
MoneyGram’s website outlines similar steps to the Western Union website, to send money you find an agent, take the required documents and then give them the money to send.
Unlike Western Union though it does appear that if you want to send money to a bank account or a mobile wallet you will have to do the transaction from a Standard Bank agent and not just one of their agents.
I haven’t used Mama Money so don’t have any first hand experience with it.
Mama Money offers a transfer service and they accept either cash deposits with one of their agents or a bank transfer from FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank. It appears to be rather simple to do the transfer if you bank with one of those banks and the instructions are on their website.
In Zimbabwe CABS Bank is the partner bank. It looks like you get a CABS Textacash card from the bank and the money is deposited onto the card and you can then use the card for payments or when available to draw cash out of an ATM.
There is a minimum transaction amount of R300, and it is unclear what currency you get the payment in Zimbabwe. It says USD but if your card is credited in USD I don’t know how you go about converting that into Zim$ and what rate you would get.
I haven’t used HelloPaisa so I don’t have any first hand experience with it.
They offer a very similar service to Mama Money, you can pay money in at stores like Checkers, Pick n Pay, Spar, Shoprite, Makro and others and then it can be received in Zimbabwe.
They also offer transfer services from FNB, Nedbank and Standard Bank.
It is a little unclear on collection, it does say you can collect from their agents in Zimbabwe as well as son stores such as Pick n Pay, Steward Bank and others, but I don’t see any mention of the money being transferred into a bank account or mobile money.
They don’t have many collection points in Zimbabwe from the look of it which could make it a little difficult to collect your money, but if they have a reliable supply of US$ cash then it could be worthwhile.
These are the options readily available and they will enable certain transactions to take place. With them we are not entirely cut off from trading with the rest of the world.
The exchange rates and the way you can receive the money in Zimbabwe vary between them, so when choosing which to use checking those as well as considering the convenience factor for the person making the payment should be factored in. I did notice that depending on the country you are sending the payment from the options and requirements change depending on that countries regulations, so where it may be difficult to send a payment from one country, using the same service provider to send from another country might be simple. There isn’t really a clear choice.
Unfortunately it does limit a fair amount of online platforms, YouTube, Fiverr, Amazon, ebay among others will not work with any of these methods. For them to work you will need to have either a bank account in another country that can readily receive payments from these companies, or in some cases a PayPal account will work. If you setup a PayPal account in Zimbabwe you cannot receive money into it. If you are in South Africa or many other countries you can receive money into PayPal.
Using PayPal in South Africa has additional requirements when you want to draw the money out of PayPal and into your bank account, it is not just a simple transfer, my understanding is you have to provide proof of earning the money so they can ascertain the tax to be applied to the transfer although I do not have first hand experience with this.
With the above payment options you do have the ability to get paid directly from some international companies and individuals although in most cases it is not as simple as just making the online payment. PayNow does offer the most convenient service of them as there is no need for the person making the payment to create an account and provide all the additional documents the other platforms require, although how the money gets paid to you may change and I am unsure exactly how it would work now. for example I have linked it to my local CABS bank account, but I have disable international payments on it as the account it is linked to is a local account and I do not know exchange rate they would use when they deposit the payment into my account, I understand you can link it to a foreign currency account if you have that setup with your bank but it will require a little more looking into before I know the exact steps to that.
It is also possible to have payments made directly into your bank account from an international company, but I have not yet looked into that and what it entails. I will add it once I have.