Zimbabwe’s InnBucks makes a comeback
InnBucks, the Zimbabwean mobile money application whose operations were suspended by the central bank in April, has bounced back - this time offering its services in partnership with a registered deposit-taking micro-finance institution.
InnBucks is a mobile money application that allows domestic foreign currency services in addition to purchases at fast food counters run by its parent company, Simbisa Brands.
In April the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) suspended InnBucks saying it was not registered to operate.
On Monday, InnBucks announced that it is now registered to operate and is poised to compete with the likes of Western Union, Mukuru.com and EcoCash, among others.
A statement released by InnBucks reads: “We are pleased to advise all our customers and stakeholders that the Regulators have authorised the launch of the INNBUCKS product. Existing InnBucks account holders will have their accounts automatically reactivated.”
InnBucks will now be operating as “a product of Ndoro Microfinance Bank Limited, a registered Microfinance Bank,” with the company saying the “arrangement will bring additional services and benefits” to the service.
Zimbabwe has taken a tough-line stance against mobile money platforms as it fights hyper-inflation and erosion of the value of the local unit of exchange, the Zimbabwe dollar.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has previously accused EcoCash platform run by Econet Wireless of being a Ponzi scheme through creation of excess money supply.
This is despite the bigger role that mobile money plays in the Southern African country’s economy. Another foreign currency remittance company that was shut down by the RBZ, Access Finance has also been re-licensed to operate.
In 2020, authorities blamed mobile money platforms for driving up the street exchange rates and scoured social media to root out operators dealing in currencies illegally through advertising daily street exchange rates and related deals via platforms such as WhatsApp.