How to get a reliable MasterCard living in Zimbabwe with no “big bank” account and payslip

Living in Zimbabwe, you will be relieved to see a heading as the one above: getting a reliable MasterCard with no Barclays, FBC, Standard Chartered, or any other “big bank” account, because these “big banks” are the ones that have Master Cards and when you need to open an account with them they willl need your proof of employment/income, proof of residence and a high deposit of which we know for a Taurai Mutema like me, those things are not available.


The economy and unemployment rate has turned many people into hustlers and vendors and at one time or the other if you are succeeding you will need a MasterCard to either receive payments (vakangwara vacho) or make payments (tichihodha) and turning to the banks for help will only add the stress. So at this time one has two options I know of: EcoCash Debit Card (though IO know this to be an easy I don’t think its reliable in the long run. See why below) and Payoneer MasterCard (the one I advice you consider).


Ecocash MasterCard Option

The Ecocash option is great in that it’s easy to obtain. All you have to do is

  1. Head to your nearest Econet shop
  2. Ask for an Ecocash Debit Card
  3. You pay $5 to get the card
  4. If you are in Gweru they will tell you to go to your nearest Ecocash agent for activation
  5. The Ecocash agent will help you with activating the card

The card and its numbers are not the actual MasterCard details so you have to continue with the following steps

6. Dial *151#

7. Enter PIN

8. Option 1 – Wallet Services

9. Option 1 – Ecocash Debit Card

10. Option 2 – Ecocash Virtual-Mastercard

11. Option1 – Request VCN

12. Enter a four letter name for your card

13. Confirm in the following steps

If everything goes successfully you will receive a message with you your 16 letter card number, a 3 letter CVV number and the expiry date of your card.


My only problem is that the virtual MasterCard is only valid for 14 days. That means you have to get a new card number, CVV number and expiry date every 14 days if you will continually need to use a MasterCard. Imagine going back to all your clients and accounts updating your MasterCard details. Painful isn’t it. Had to endure that kind of a pain for close to 24 months until when I met the Payoneer MasterCard option.


Payoneer MasterCard Option

Payoneer ( classifies itself as an international money transfer platform. It offers a 100% MasterCard which you can use to make payments locally and internationally (tried and tested) and as well as receive funds into the card.

The process to obtain the card is very easy.

  1. Visit the sign up page on Payoneer Sign Up and sign up for your account.
  2. Activate your signup from your email account
  3. Provide postal address for your card
  4. Expect your card in a month. Mine took 17 days to arrive (approximately half the promised number of days)
  5. Relax and wait for your card
  6. When it arrives follow the given steps to activate your card
  7. That’s it! You now own a MasterCard that expires in 3 years time.






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