The arrival of INSTACASH, a new mobile money service provider in Eswatini, has come as a breath of fresh air to consumers who are always looking at a variety of products and services. It is the country’s third and newest Mobile Money Operator (MMO); the other two are MoMo (operated by MTN Eswatini) and eMali (operated by Eswatini Mobile).

Essentially, INSTACASH is a mobile money service that enables customers to use the most basic cellular network connection (2G) to conduct a number of transactions, inclusive of sending and receiving money to and from anywhere in Eswatini, buying airtime for any mobile network, making payments for utility and other scheduled bills, making point of sale payments for goods and/or services at various merchants throughout the country, making limited savings, accessing micro-loans, disbursing multiple payments to several recipients at a go; and for payment checkout for various value-added services.

Bongani Dube who is INSTACASH’s Commercial Manager says:

“INSTACASH customers do not need internet connectivity to access the platform; hence our resolve to deliver value whether one is using a basic phone or a smartphone. This is in line with our strategic intent to contribute towards expediting financial inclusion in the country. Registered customers can access the service by dialling *365# regardless of which mobile network they use.”

Registered about 4 years ago, the product went live in 2021 where it underwent a compulsory pilot phase as part of regulatory requirements. Following the passing of its Go-Live assessment and a comprehensive system audit, it was licensed to fully operate in February 2022. INSTACASH is owned by Directcore Technologies Swaziland (Pty) Ltd, a 100-percent Swazi-owned company. The founding Managing Director is Mandla Nxumalo, while the Chairman is Mbuso Simelane.

Cheecks Nxumalo

According to Dube, registration comes free of charge for INSTACASH customers. “One has to visit any of our vendors/agents (identifiable by blue umbrellas and blue bibs, or blue INSTACASH stickers) and should carry with them their national ID cards. Alternatively, people can register at our Mbabane Service Centre at the Swazi Plaza,” he says.

The new mobile money service provider has already been met with great enthusiasm and anticipation, as customers seek to diversify their financial services. There has been excitement, especially among the youth who have shown interest in being part of the INSTACASH family as they have registered as customers. Some have already registered as vending agents.

“Our social media is also lively and interactive. We endeavour to attend to all questions and inquiries within the shortest possible time,” says INSTACASH Commercial Manager Bongani Dube.

While modern and potentially ground-breaking, given its interoperability (ability to register customers who use either mobile network), INSTACASH uses a conventional distribution channel – that of independent vending agents spread throughout eSwatini. These agents earn a commission for all transactions performed by customers – cash-ins (deposits) and cash-outs (withdrawals), as well as a commission for customer registration. Currently, INSTACASH agents are found in Mbabane, Bhunya, Motjane, Nkhaba, Ngwenya, KaNcesi, Buhleni, Ndzingeni, Madlangempisi, Tshaneni, Dvokolwako, Crydon, Mliba, Nyakeni, Matsapha, Bhunya, Luyengo, Lobamba, Nhlangano, Hlathikhulu, Ludzeludze, Kwaluseni, Mankayane, and Mpaka. The company also has its first service centre at the Swazi Plaza in Mbabane, opposite the Edgars Building.

“While we are still a start-up that has a vision to positively impact the mobile wallet space in the country, we already employ close to 30 people on a full-time basis. All our team members, from management to the entire team on the ground, are young and ambitious, and they are keen to deliver convenience to our customers,” says Managing Director Mandla Nxumalo.

INSTACASH staff team is made up of graduates from different tertiary institutions, experienced team leaders and managers, as well as an efficient support staff that ensures on a daily basis that operations are seamless. Over and above the full-time team, they also provide business opportunities to the youth, women, and other interested individuals who wish to join the growing agency/vendor network, as they intend to have their services accessible countrywide, even at the remotest of places.

Currently, INSTACASH has about 40 000 customers spread throughout the country, with the bulk of these located in the Hhohho and Manzini regions, although they are already making significant headway into the other regions as well.

Given that the world is currently on a paradigm shift towards the fourth industrial revolution, where digitization and ICT technologies would be central to our existence, INSTACASH is already working towards being among industry leaders in delivering a secure, safe, and efficient payment facility that will replace hard-cash. Using cell phones, from the most basic to smartphones, the company envisages a future where customers will use INSTACASH as a payment checkout option of choice across all spectrums of commerce – from marketplace vendors to big supermarkets; from scheduled to utility billers.

E-Commerce is no longer the future, it is the present, and INSTACASH intends to be among the dominant players in the shortest possible time. As part of this digitization, customers who own smartphones would be delighted to learn that they can also download an app ‘INSTACASH’ from Google Play Store.

INSTACASH is licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Eswatini. As a regulatory requirement, its system is highly secure, reliable, and provides real-time transactions. Their customers’ accounts are protected by a personal identification number (PIN) which is set by customers upon onboarding. A dedicated trust account is used to secure all the float (money deposited by agents for buying units), and is held with one of the local commercial banks in Eswatini.

Furthermore, INSTACASH agents are highly trained on how to provide services to customers, especially by insisting that the latter provide their ID cards for identification purposes prior to transacting. This ensures additional security and is a measure aimed at curtailing potentially uncouth tendencies like money laundering among other risks.

Asked about their selling propositions, they mentioned interoperability, inclusion, speed, accessibility, security, and convenience. “We don’t brand ourselves as different from competition but as uniquely complementary. Our interoperability (possibility to on-board customers from any of the two mobile networks) has already been lauded by many and is proving to be ushering great convenience. Other unique features would be easily noticed by customers as they get to use the product over the coming months and years,” says Managing Director Mandla Nxumalo.

The company is currently in a recruitment drive for street and shop agents/vendors who would like to earn a commission from selling INSTACASH. From these agents, their customers will be able to deposit money into their mobile wallets or withdraw cash, and these activities earn them (agents) a commission. They also earn a commission from customer registration. In this regard, they are inviting both existing and aspiring business people who wish to register as their agents/vendors to visit their all-new Mbabane Service Centre, found at the Swazi Plaza along Sheet Street and opposite the Edgars Building. Alternatively, they can call their sales team on 24047251 to set up an appointment.

“Notably, and in line with our gent-to-customer ratio, the number of agents to be recruited is limited, hence applying early for these INSTACASH vending licenses may work to the early birds’ advantage,” says Nxumalo.