Dutch fintech Move4Mobile has developed a mobile payments app for Hakrinbank, bringing online payments to Suriname, the smallest country in South America.
The app, named Mopé, will enable anyone with a smartphone to make purchases and transfer money electronically in a country where the majority of transactions are performed using cash.
Mopé provides a mobile wallet from which payment requests can be made using a QR code to receive funds in a number of currencies from elsewhere in the world.
A former Dutch colony, one third of all Surinamese people live in the Netherlands, which would make Mopé a useful tool for sending funds to family back home.
Large numbers of people in Suriname do not own a bank account, but Move4Mobile argues that “smartphone penetration is very high”, among the country’s population of 583,000.
“If you look at the actual percentage of people using a mobile subscription, it’s almost 60% of the population,” founder of Move4Mobile, Jan Gerard Gerrits, tells Finextra.
Based on active internet user data provided by Hootsuite, there are 330,000 active mobile internet users in Suriname.
To enable widespread use of the app among Surimanese, there will also need to be considerable uptake by merchants.
Hakrinbank has 16 launch partners and has also created apps specifically for receiving funds, which could be beneficial to gig economy workers.
“We need the merchants to get it all going, that is why we got them involved in the project from the beginning and we asked them about their needs,” Gerrits adds.
“Think about the use case of drivers of trucks that are getting paid in cash for delivery. They can use the ‘receive-only’ variant of the wallet and drive safely without big amounts of cash.”