How InnBucks became the most downloaded fintech solution in Zimbabwe


Today InnBucks is one of the most competitive fintech products to come out of Zimbabwe in the past few years, maybe ever. And what was launched as an app to receive loose change at some restaurants, is now a licensed microfinance institution. Let’s see how InnBucks became a popular fintech solution in Zimbabwe.

The country with no coins

InnBucks came out as an app to pay back loose change at popular restaurants like Nando’s and Chicken Inn, amid a shortage of small denomination currency notes.

Getting back loose change after a purchase is a big challenge in Zimbabwe, as there are no coins and few smaller denomination notes in circulation. In fact, Zimbabwe is well known as the country with no coins, where 1 american dollar is more useful than the 100 paper dollars.

Here even a US$20 bill is considered “big money” and big trouble for shops, which often cannot provide change for them. To deal with this issue, traders and retailers sometimes give out sweets, condoms, and coupons but there are even unlicensed currency traders who offer to swap US money for a bundle of Zimbabwean bills, known as Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) dollars. And they would only exchange the money at the official rate, far below the informal market rate.

Innbucks was built to solve that challenge at above mentioned shops and restaurants. However, the app evolved in real fintech.

A 1.8 million users App

According to the company, the app currently has 1.8 million users. Over the years InnBucks has become one of Zimbabwe’s most popular fintech platforms and it ranks as Zimbabwe’s most popular free financial-sector app on the Google Play store.

InnBucks allows users to load money in Zimbabwean dollars, make digital payments, and transfer money to other Innbucks users. However, Several Zimbabweans use this app to pay their bills and make purchases.

Users ask retailers to credit their changes into their Innbucks wallet because they will use it later, send it to someone or buy goods for themself. This solution is better than being forced to buy something that people don’t need from the restaurants or shops.

Innbucks wallet has added US Dollar loans

Last year, Innbucks received a license through a partnership with Ndoro, a microfinance bank, which allowed it to operate as a deposit-taking financial institution. Moreover, the app has also introduced a micro loans plan.

Those are available to both businesses and individuals. Personal loans are available for both civil servants and private-sector employees. All personal loans are salary-based and InnBucks will give you up to 2.5 times your net salary.

Offering remittance from South Africa

In October, Daisy Zambuko, Innbucks CEO, stated in an interview that, in addition to facilitating payments at Simbisa branded stores and offering person-to-person money transfers, Innbucks is now onboarding merchants for payments.

Aside from that, Innbucks just announced a partnership to permit remittances from South Africa. Remittances can be made using the Clicksendnow, a South African platform run by Nedbank and Ukheshe that allows for remittances to the rest of Africa.

The funds would be sent directly into Innbucks wallets, which offer a variety of functions such as payments, domestic remittances, bill payments, and airtime purchases.

What’s Next?

Without doubt, Innbucks is gaining popularity. According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Innbucks was one of only four financial institutions that reported profits in 2022. As per the central bank’s report, it has a core capital base of $5.35 million, making it one of the largest financial institutions in the country.

In a country where mobile wallets (7.1 million according to data) are more than credit and debit cards (5.9 million) Innbucks provide a valid alternative to let people access basic financial services.