The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will resume online payments after April 12 as banks and other payment system providers make “satisfactory progress” in converting customer balances to the country’s new currency, the Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG). 

“[After April 12], the Reserve Bank expects that all the online payment platforms will be operating smoothly for all transactions,” the bank said in a statement.

Following the introduction of the ZiG on April 5, online payment platforms in the country could not transact with the Zimbabwean dollar, the predecessor to the ZiG. This led to consumers being unable to pay for goods and services online. Banks and payment providers stated that they could not support payments because they had to recalibrate their systems to the new currency. 

Some Zimbabweans expressed concern about the lack of organisation regarding the new currency. “Bank balances have been converted to ZiG but its circulation starts on 30 April and I can’t use it for online payments, so how will I make any payments between now and April 12?” said a consumer who preferred anonymity.

Online transactions have been slow to garner widespread usage as Zimbabweans have developed a culture of cash-based transactions in more stable currencies including the South African rand, Botswana pula, and US dollar. This stems from a fear of having money kept in bank accounts abruptly converted by the government to unstable currencies, as has happened in the past.

However, a sprouting of online payment solutions over the last few years has seen adoption gradually increase in Zimbabwe. Technologies which has gained prominence include Innbucks, which allows customers to receive loose change at restaurants; Ecocash, a digital wallet; and O’Mari, a superapp which includes mobile money, insurtech, and investech products.

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