Digital payments provider sees COVID-19 spike

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A Bahamian digital payments provider says it has seen a significant spike in transactions on its platform and downloads of its application in recent weeks.

Nicholas Rees, chairman, and co-founder of Kanoo, predicted that by year’s end, over 40,000 users and 1,000 merchants would be on-boarded.

He told Eyewitness News that the company began seeing an uptick in activity on its platform in March.

“We did a soft launch back in December with not much promotion and had been working out the kinks with vendors and users,” he said.

“Our number of transactions from the beginning of April has increased by 30 percent over the entire month of March. Our payment volumes in the first seven days of April have gone up 47 percent over the entire month of March. Our app downloads are up 50 percent, and we now have a download rate of one new user every five to 10 minutes. We have been able to expand our network through New Providence, Grand Bahama, Exuma, and Long Island,” Rees explained.

He added: “It’s been a very insightful time for us. One of the things that were really exciting for us was the fact that during a countrywide shutdown, we were able to enable one of our merchants Cheesecake Haven who utilized our digital platform to sell out of inventory within two days. Being a virtual company, we are flexible and adaptable. You can sit on your couch, set up your business, and start transacting.”

“We had persons who were unable to move about and were still able to do carry out transactions, send money to family members, top-up, and buy phone plans right in the app. We didn’t miss a beat, and it was very humbling for us to us.”

He said: “We knew that this could be a national service, and amid a crisis, we can see how we are helping people. That ultimately is what Kanoo is all about, helping people.”

According to Rees, the company currently has over 3,000 users in its ‘ecosystem,’ 30-40 merchants fully on-board the platform, and another 300 being engaged.

“I expect that by December 31, we will have over 1,000 merchants in the ecosystem and over 40,000 users,” said Rees.

“We are actively expanding the marketplace. Kanoo is very feature-rich, and we want to be careful and methodical about how we are rolling out the features. We want to build out the ecosystem slowly. We want people to understand the value of Kanoo and what the company is about,” Rees noted.

The company’s name, Kanoo, is derived from the Bahamian parade and cultural expression Junkanoo.

“Seven young Bahamians came together and wanted to create something uniquely Bahamian. We wanted to create something we could take to the entire world, a platform built to compete with the likes of Paypal and other such platforms. That is where we ultimately see ourselves; a Bahamian company operating in the international arena,” Rees said.


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