The digital payments landscape in the Caribbean has a relatively new entrant that is already expanding its reach by introducing a multi-currency feature in March 2020.
Squeeze Cash, an Eastern Caribbean-based fintech start-up founded in 2019, provides mobile payment solutions currently to more than 2800 individuals and over 100 small and medium businesses primarily in St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Saint Lucia.
In a recent interview with ANN, Co-founder and Chief Executive Kenrick Quashie said “Squeeze Cash will be able to process transactions in all of the currencies of the English-Speaking Caribbean, including the US dollar. This is in addition to the Eastern Caribbean dollar (XCD) which it currently offers.
“This new feature is meant to popularize the app across the wider Caribbean and the North American market so to better facilitate remittances from the Diaspora. It means that businesses and individuals can set up Squeeze Cash accounts with their local currency and conduct local and inter-currency transactions. For example, an individual with a Barbadian Dollar version of the app can make purchases in Trinidad and Tobago in person or remotely.”
Cash-outs will also be done in these countries. While the currency of the app is not limited to users’ residency or citizenship, cash-outs can only be done in the local currency. Example, someone in SVG may choose to have a US version of the app, however, s/he will not be able to cash-out to a bank in SVG or the Eastern Caribbean. This user must have an XCD account in order to cash-out to a bank in the Eastern Caribbean.
The Squeeze Cash app is currently available to users in member States of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) namely: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Monsterrat, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines and Saint Lucia.
“When the upgraded-currency version is released,” Quashie disclosed, “the app will be available to users in their local currencies for: the Bahamas (BD), Barbados (BDS), Belize (BZD), Guyana (GD), Jamaica (JD) and Trinidad and Tobago (TTD).
The transacted foreign currency amount is converted into the home currency of each user at a standard $.02 USD above the mid-market rate plus a $1.00USD inter-currency transaction fee charged to the sender. The standard transaction fee is charged to merchants.
“An important caveat that we want our users to know is that the conversion of each currency is based on the US dollar in keeping with the daily rates issued by each currency’s Central Bank,” Chief Exec Quashie revealed.
Drawing a comparison to a Visa/MasterCard used by an individual outside his home currency, Kenrick said that “there is a charge of about 2.8 per cent fee per transaction done in a foreign currency, on top of the prevailing foreign exchange rate determined by Visa or MasterCard. It is 3 per cent for Visa. Or where it can cost an individual up to 20% to send money from one country to another using the traditional money transfer agencies.”
Squeeze Cash boasts of being the cheapest and most convenient way to make a payment or send money across borders and even within one’s country. “Our fees are standardized across each currency.
“Can you imagine only paying the equivalent of $1.00USD to send money from your XCD version of the app to your child studying at the University of the West Indies campus in Jamaica? You will be able to do that and more from the comfort of your home…no more lines, no more high conversion rate. Best of all, your child will receive the money in real time and can begin to use immediately.
“The founding team and partners know that once we begin to accept multiple currencies, Squeeze Cash is going to go global,” the Squeeze Cash co-founder said. “More and more currencies will be accepted overtime. Our goal over the next 18 months is to be in the Latin American and Caribbean market. The Caribbean is referred to here as the English, French and Spanish- Speaking Caribbean countries.”
For now, the app will continue to only accept payments in Eastern Caribbean dollars (XCD). It has processed more than $15,000 worth of transactions since it started.
Merchants and individuals are required to sign up for a free account which they can find in the iOS app and Google Play stores. They can immediately transact payments thereafter.
Squeeze Cash is Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Compliant and operates within the acceptable standards for Know Your Customers (KYCs) and Counter Terrorism Financing (CTF) practices.
Squeeze Cash is primarily used as a money transfer option for individuals and a payment option for individuals and businesses and well as between businesses and businesses.