Friday, June 20, 2014

10 services you can now enjoy in Zimbabwe thanks to PayPal

paypal-credit-cardsPayPal’s opening up of its services to Zimbabwe this past week has created a lot of excitement in the market. Many entrepreneurs see this as a godsend and I can just see them smiling all the way FROM the bank (after going to deposit their funds to start transacting using the payment gateway). But there may be some of you who are wondering what all the excitement is about. Why is everyone (well at least those online) excited about being able to PAY other people and NOT SELL their goods and service? I penned an article yesterday of why I felt that PayPal wouldn’t be a hit just yet here in Zimbabwe and how local payment solutions were better poised to service the Zimbabwean market. Well, there are still sections of the populace that may want to know what they can pay with PayPal now that it has opened up. Let me first break down to how it works. As PayPal is a payment gateway, it accepts various payment providers through their system (an option that many suppliers would prefer), including VISA and MasterCard. If any website used PayPal to process their payments, even though you have a VISA (for example), because Zimbabwean cards were not recognised by PayPal your card would be rejected and essentially your transaction would fail. This created a stumbling block for many-an-entrepreneur that needed to buy services and products online. Well, PayPal has finally recognised that we exist and have been gracious enough to open their platform to us (someone give these guys a Bells). With this comes a host of opportunities, and I hope to list at least 10 services that you can now enjoy as a Zimbo.
  1. WhatsApp subscriptions: For those of you that have been having sleepless nights over how you can pay your WhatsApp subscription and are tired of downloading and using it for FREE, the day has finally come. WhatsApp have been lenient on us and continually extend our expiry date for their service every year. No, it is not because Econet and/or Telecel (or whatever mobile network you’re on) paid for you as some people believe! One of the challenges that the Facebook owned instant messaging app has is how to collect money from developing nations. The coming of PayPal is a step in getting you to pay that $1 per year. C’mon guys, rejoice with me!
  2. eBay: From the amount of comments and feedback from my last post on the issue, eBay should be a happy lot. It seems everyone was waiting for PayPal so that they can start buying stuff from the American website. Hokoyo ZimBay. If you didn’t know, PayPal is a wholly owned subsidiary of eBay (arguably the biggest consumer to consumer marketplace, a.k.a. classifieds) and now we can buy goods through their website. (Anybody do a transaction yet? Please advise of the logistics so that we all can start enjoying)
  3. Skype: If you need to communicate cost efficiently then Skype is your answer. Internet connection allowing you can stay in touch with friends and relatives all over the world with your Skype Credit. PayPal now affords us this opportunity.
  4. DropBox: For those of you that are always on the go and need to store information in the cloud, enter DropBox. The cloud storage service offers a limited amount of storage for FREE but for just $9.99 you can get access to 100GB extra!
  5. Fiverr: My love and flirtation with Fiverr dates back over two years, where I have been using it ever since. For just $5 you can get an app made, Facebook login plug-in developed, even hire a “fake girlfriend” to make that somebody on Facebook jealous. Now that we can make payments there are so many freelance services that we can get for less than the price of the lowest DStv package (hey, wait, just about anything is lower than that!)
  6. WordPress: For those of you who like to churn out websites on the fly and use WordPress for quick to market solutions, now you can buy your favourite templates easily. The world of themes and templates, plugins included are estimated to be a $25m industry, so believe me there is some value in them.
  7. GoDaddy: For those of you that are more interested in .com websites (I’d recommend instead, get them from Name) he is one of the industry leaders that will aide you in getting online quickly.
  8. Udemy: if you haven’t visited Udemy, then what are you waiting for? This has got to be one of THE BEST learning resources online, though it might have a few FREE courses that will help you to further your career; the paid content is off the chain! (N.B. Econet offer this website along with over 50+ other FREE websites through their Econet Zero service, though I have been unable to access it). The courses that are available are widespread and very relevant to what is needed in today’s app market, e.g. Apple Swift Programming
  9. iTunes: For the iEnthusiasts (all your iDevices) here is an easier way for you to now buy your Apple iTunes Store products at cost. Say good bye to middlemen who we visited at certain stores locally and bought iTunes credit at a premium (I know, you can thank me later).
  10. Market Motive: I have saved the best for last. My passion is in Social Media Marketing and this is one of the world leaders when it comes to online learning. Teaching you topics such as SEO, PPC, Social Media and Content Marketing, you can get yourself a worldwide recognised certificate all from the comfort of your desktop…
If you are interested in more information on what services you can use with your PayPal account, be sure to check out their Store Directory. Comment - just watch out that servicesyou may be able to pay for may not deliver to Zimbabwe.

Company closures continue in Zimbabwe

Company closures continue in Zimbabwe by Tererai Karimakwenda 19 June 2014 |Reports of the rapid closure of companies in Zimbabwe have continued to make headlines as government fails to find a solution, with the latest news revealing that at least 10 companies are closing every month.According to the Financial Gazette newspaper, a senior official at the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) disclosed figures that suggest 60 companies had shut their doors so far this year. The total could be over 120 closures by year's end.The figures represent only statistics on the number of companies that stopped contributing to monthly pension funds due to closure. This means there could be even more companies closing that had not been paying into the fund, which is a crime under the law.In addition, mineral prices have declined significantly in the last two years and foreign investors are shunning Zimbabwe, following the seizure of several farms that were protected by bilateral agreements and confusion over government's indigenisation policy, which requires foreign firms to be owned by majority locals.Economist Tony Hawkins said indigenisation has created uncertainty and is deterring new investment, but the closures reflect a "deeper malaise"."This economy is no longer terribly competitive due to long periods of high inflation. We have a difficult infrastructural situation in terms of transport, water, and especially in terms of electricity, and we have an uncompetitive exchange rate linked to the dollar, which is too strong a currency for Zimbabwe," Hawkins explained.He added that government needs to follow through on some of the existing policies, such as the staff monitored programme of the International Monetary Fund and negotiating debt relief and debt restructuring. This would then allow government to finance the major infrastructural investment that they need to undertake.Hawkins said business leaders and politicians are so fixated on indigenisation that they have lost sight of all the other issues affecting the economy. - See more at:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Paypal comes to Zimbabwe

Paypal comes to Zimbabwe by Staff reporter 16 June 2014 |
LONDON- PayPal is entering 10 new countries this week, including Zimbabwe, providing online payment alternatives for consumers via mobile phones or PCs in markets often blighted by financial fraud.Rupert Keeley, the executive in charge of the EMEA region of PayPal, the payments unit of eBay Inc, said in an interview on Monday the expansion would bring the number of countries it serves to 203.Starting on Tuesday, consumers in Nigeria, which has 60 million users and has Africa's largest population, along with nine other markets in sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America will be able to make payments through PayPal."PayPal has been going through a period of reinvention, refreshing many of its services to make them easier to use on mobile (phones), allowing us to expand into fast-developing markets," Keeley said.Once the services go live, customers in the 10 countries with access to the Web and a bank card authorized for Internet transactions will be able to register for a PayPal account and make payments to millions of sites worldwide.Initially, PayPal is only offering "send money" services for consumers to pay for goods and services at PayPal-enabled merchant sites while safeguarding their financial details. This is free to consumers and covered by fees it charges merchants."We think we can give our sellers selling into this market a great deal of reassurance," said Keeley, a former regional banking executive with Standard Chartered Plc and senior executive with payment card company Visa Inc.PayPal does not yet cover peer-to-peer transactions, which allow consumers to send money to other consumers. It has not yet enabled local merchants in the new markets to receive payments, nor is it offering other forms of banking services, he said.A 2013 survey of 200 UK ecommerce sites by Visa's CyberSource unit estimated that 1.26 percent of online orders are fraudulent and that 85 percent of merchants expected fraud to increase or remain static last year.CyberSource also estimated that suspicion of fraudulent transactions result in 8.2 percent of online orders in Latin America being rejected by merchants, compared with 5.5 percent in Europe and 2.7 percent in the United States and Canada.Such fraud can include ID theft, social engineering, phishing and automated harvesting of customer financial data via botnets, or networks of computers controlled by hackers.A total of 80 million Internet users stand to gain access to PayPal global services this week, including those in five European markets - Belarus, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco and Montenegro, four in the African nations of Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Zimbabwe, as well as Paraguay. Internet usage figures are based on research by Euromonitor International.PayPal counts 148 million active accounts worldwide. .responsive-middle-article { width: 674px; height: 200px; } (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Last week, MasterCard Inc, the world's second-largest debit and credit card company, and a PayPal rival in payment processing, said it was working with the Nigerian government on a pilot to overlay payment technology on a new national identity card.PayPal has operated in 190 markets since 2007 and added three countries - Egypt, Georgia and Serbia last year. Roughly a quarter of the $52 billion in payment volumes PayPal reported in the first quarter of 2014 were for cross-border transactions. PayPal reported $1.8 billion in revenue during the period. Paypal Bank Source: newsday -

Monday, June 2, 2014

At dollarisation in 2009, we didn’t inflate any telephone bills, says TelOne

At dollarisation in 2009, we didn’t inflate any telephone bills, says TelOne

100-trillion-ZimbabweWhen TelOne started billing customers in US dollars back in February 2009, it was accused of having converted Zimbabwean Dollar bills to US dollars at unrealistic exchange rates resulting in ridiculously high bills which subscribers failed to settle.
Today, TelOne released a press statement apparently to clarify the issue. Essentially, the company says they never converted bills at an unfair rate but used a Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe official rate. Here’s part of the statement:
TelOne has noted sentiments emanating from the market indicating that TelOne inflated Zimbabwe dollar bills and converted the amounts to United States Dollars hence the current outstanding bills that have accrued on the client accounts. TelOne would like to set the record straight and dispel this incorrect view.
At dollarization (February 2009) all outstanding bills were converted to the US dollar using an exchange rate prescribed by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. This resulted in all businesses and households starting off with zero balances upon transfer.
In addition, TelOne wrote off the entire January 2009 bill following stakeholder representations. Further to this, tariffs were reduced from 7 cents to 5 cents per minute in September 2009 but this reduction was backdated to February 2009 when dollarization commenced. The relevant credits were passed on to each account.
It should be noted therefore that the current bills did not accrue from the pre-dollarisation era and the conversion to US dollar but due to failure by clients to honour their bills over an extended period of time. TelOne urges all clients to honour their outstanding bills.
One strange thing in there is that TelOne doesn’t mention what exchange rate specifically was used. The RBZ website suggests however that it was around 12 billion Zimbabwean dollars for a US dollar, so assuming your bill was ZW $100 billion, you’d owe just US $8.
We have no idea really what TelOne was charging a minute in Zim dollars, but we do know the government operators were the slowest in reacting their prices to the hyperinflation resulting in them essentially offering service for free (If you have an old bill from around December 2008, please help us out by posting it in the comments below).
In fact we think this late reaction to hyperinflation is the core of the problem TelOne and its subscribers have today. TelOne (NetOne and Telecel too actually), because of sticking to postpaid even when it didn’t make inflationary sense in those crazy years, essentially got their subscribers hooked to paying nothing for service. When these providers did however react immediately to the USD billing relief that they were granted by the Reserve Bank in January 2009, they did a poor job of communicating effectively to subscribers that free was over. Subscribers continued to abuse but realised at month-end that you can’t abuse real dollars. They didn’t pay and eventually service was suspended. Hence the ugly situation today.
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