Pentecostal churches in Zimbabwe have moved to take advantage of mobile phone penetration rates now said to be about 103.5 percent and the introduction of mobile money platforms to ease their tithe worries.
Use of technology in churches by preachers has since become the in-thing with Bible verses being flipped on iPads, iPhones and laptops around the country
But Pentecostal churches have gone a step further by moving to it ease for congregants to pay tithes and “love offerings” through the new mobile money transfer platforms.
Zimbabwe is presently struggling with a serious liquidity crisis with the few available low-denomination bills changing hands until they become repulsively filthy before eventually disintegrating.
The filth is an obvious problem for the wealthy and ever-smartly dressed “prophets” while the fact the country does not have enough cash means congregants struggle to pay the all-important tithes and “love offerings”.
But every problem has a solution for the men of faith and telecoms companies have helped address the cash challenge with the introduction of mobile money platforms.
Leading the pack in utilising the technology, is the United Family International Church (UFIC) led by Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa which is urging members to use the Econet Wireless-run Ecocash platform.
Members of UFIC now use EcoCash to pay their “love offerings”, UFIC partnership and UFIC tithes using three different bill codes.
Not to be outdone are churches such as FM Grace City Centre, AFM Houghton Park, Faith Ministries, Faith Ministries, New Life Covenant, One Way Ministries and ZAOGA BCT.
Only one traditional church, Baptist Union of Zimbabwe is using the latest mobile money transfer technology, according to the Econet website.
Econet introduced its mobile payment solutions in September 2011 which enables the telecom giant’s customers to complete simple financial transactions on their phones.
Rival NetOne followed suit with One wallet while Telecel Zimbabwe recently launched Telecash.
Data from telecoms industry regulator POTRAZ shows that the number of mobile subscribers in the country is now more than 13,5 million against a population of 13.06 million.
Econet dominates the industry with 8.5 million subscribers, followed by Telecel at 2.54 million and the government-owned NetOne which has 2.45million.