In 2023, are there really that many unbanked people in Zimbabwe? Mobile money might not be considered banking in the traditional sense but it really has allowed millions to have access to financial services. There are still some services that you need proper bank accounts for, unfortunately.
This is why today I am excited to talk about the addition of InnBucks to VFEX Direct. If you’ve forgotten, the VFEX is the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange, the USD-only stock exchange. Currently, there are 13 companies listed on the exchange and it is a good alternative/supplement to the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
So, what’s new is that you will be able to top up your VFEX Direct wallet through InnBucks from August 2023. You can do this either through the InnBucks app or plain old USSD.
Here’s what VFEX has to say,
As part of the continuous efforts to promote financial inclusion and retail participation on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (“VFEX”), we are pleased to notify stakeholders on the addition of InnBucks Microbank Limited (“InnBucks”) as a payment channel on VFEX Direct with effect from 01 August 2023. The addition of InnBucks on VFEX Direct, will enable retail investors to top up their wallet through the InnBucks mobile app or USSD code.
Our aim as VFEX is to ensure convenience to our clients, and we are always striving to evolve and add services that can make the investment journey for our clients smooth. With the addition of this service, VFEX Direct clients will now conveniently fund their wallet, and the funds reflecting for trading much quicker. The minimum top up amount for investing on VFEX through InnBucks is US$10 (excluding transfer charges).
Investors have to meet the following requirements to enjoy this service;
- have an active VFEX Direct account (to register visit vfexdirect.vfex.exchange or download the VFEX Direct mobile app on Play Store or Apple App Store)
- have an active InnBucks account (to register download the InnBucks app on Play Store or Apple App Store or dial *569#)
- Link your VFEX Direct account and InnBucks account (visit vfexdirect.vfex.exchange).
The VFEX appreciates the support and valuable feedback from stakeholders. We will continuously strive to develop initiatives on VFEX Direct that promote financial inclusion and retail participation.
Big deal or nah?
It’s good to see this. The more we can do from our easier-to-sign-up-for mobile money accounts, the better.
There is a fly in the ointment though. While you will be able to load your VFEX wallet through InnBucks, you will still need to have a bank account to register for VFEX Direct in the first place.
That may not sound like a big deal but the retail or would-be retail investor that would actually benefit from the InnBucks integration may not have a bank account.
The fatcat and institutional investors will not have any use for InnBucks with its $500 limit per transaction.
When registering for VFEX Direct, they will need some kind of ‘proof of residence,’ a KYC document, and you can upload one of the following:
- Proof of residence
- Bank Statement
- Confirmation of employment / Letter from employer
- Affidavit from Landlord
- Lease Agreement
- Utility Bill
- Letter from Councilor / Village Herd
That list of options will still chase away many but it is good to see that they didn’t limit this to just a proof of residence as some do.
So, yeah, it’s good to see InnBucks working as a channel through which a retail investor like you and me can fund their investment wallet. It is a step in the right direction as far as financial inclusion is concerned.
So, maybe the RBZ should think about revising the transition limits on mobile money transactions since they can now be used for investment purposes.