ZymPay revolutionises electricity bill payments for UK-based Zimbabweans
All electricity payments in Zimbabwe are now made by purchasing top-up vouchers similar to those for pay-as-you-go mobile phones. Electricity office counters and QikPay agents allow the purchase of these pre-paid vouchers. The customer enters the long number directly into their meter to top-up their supply.
Now London-based money transfer and bill payments business – ZymPay – offers a direct payment service for diaspora living outside the country. Starting with the UK, customers will be able to pay their electricity bills online and receive the – meter-specific – top-up voucher via SMS. Then all they need to do is get someone to tap the code into their meter back in Zimbabwe.
‘This was such a hassle before,’ says Glorianne Francis, a Zimbabwean living and working in the UK. ‘Up till now I’ve had to transfer money home, get a friend or relative to take the cash to buy a voucher and then put in the number. With ZymPay I can pay for my electricity in under a minute online and for a negligible fee.’
‘Electricity payments using ZymPay Advantage is just part of our fresh thinking on fairer financial services for African diaspora and their recipients,’ said Dakshesh Patel, founder and CEO of ZymPay. ‘We see unacceptable money transfer fees as a fair target, especially to Africa where the costs are on average double that of any other destination.’
‘To transfer even small amounts of money diaspora have been hit with exorbitant money transfer fees. This is unacceptable and completely unnecessary in our eyes, not to mention highly inconvenient,’ says Patel. ‘Our fee is only £1.99 to cover administration costs.’
ZymPay’s Chief Marketing Officer – Nicholas Ricketts – added. ‘Once you put payments like this online you can really add value for customers, many of whom are paying the electricity bills for their relatives. Now they can pay online and in a couple of minutes their granny will receive a text on her phone with the top-up code. She doesn’t even need to leave her front room.’
ZymPay plans to open its first money transfer route to Zimbabwe in 2015. ‘Our service aims to deliver a safe and fair way to send money abroad,’ says Patel. ‘We have adopted extremely high standards of end-to-end compliance for ‘Know Your Customer’ and Anti-Money Laundering, going way beyond current guidelines and practices. It means that we – and the institutions we partner with here and in Africa – have the greatest confidence in our systems.’
ZESA (Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority) is the state-owned energy company supplying all industry, businesses and domestic customers across the country. For home-owners payment is taken via top-up vouchers for the pre-paid meters that control electricity supply domestically. Currently credit vending points are in selected ZETDC offices in Harare and Bulawayo. Plans are underway to appoint third party vending platforms. When the system is eventually rolled-out throughout the country, customers will be able to purchase electricity tokens from supermarkets, petrol service stations, banks etc in the same manner they buy cellular phone airtime.
ZESA Holdings (PVT) Ltd and its subsidiaries are headquartered in Harare, Zimbabwe.
The ZymPay Advantage service is part of an innovative product suite that aims to bring fairer value for its customers. At the heart of ZymPay is a revolutionary money transfer service that will change the way money is sent abroad and how it is received. ZymPay aim to launch their ethically-led money transfer service in 2015.
ZymPay plans to charge substantially lower transfer fees than the well-known money transfer companies. And ZymPay’s partnerships with major UK banks – and institutions in receiving countries – ensures the best available rate with no hidden charges.
ZymPay was set up to give back to communities while delivering fair value for both sender and recipient. Every transfer generates a donation to ZymStart, a foundation that contributes to health and education projects in the receiving country.
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Guardian report into costs for remittances
Washington Post story on the Gates Foundation aims for remittances