Introducing Sentoo, a FinTech company set to revolutionize the local digital payments market in the Caribbean. Sentoo provides an account-to-account (A2A) payment method that enables users to pay from their local bank account straight to the receiver’s local bank account. In doing so, companies are able to receive payments from their customers without the use of credit cards or e-wallets, taking users directly to their trusted online banking website or app, where they can safely confirm the payment.
How does that work exactly?
To quote directly from Sentoo: “So, imagine you’re behind your desktop and ready to make your first online purchase with Sentoo on a website (a pair of new shoes, maybe?). First, your bank has to offer Sentoo as an option. Currently, the Banco di Caribe bank has the Sentoo functionality in Curaçao, Aruba, the Caribbean Netherlands, and Sint Maarten. New banks will be announced in the short term, so be on the lookout for them. After that, the steps for Sentoo are very straightforward and easy peasy:
1. Select Sentoo
Look for the Sentoo logo as a payment option.
2. Select your bank
Banco di Caribe is the first bank in the Caribbean to offer the Sentoo payment option. After selecting the bank, you will be redirected to your bank’s login page. Or, if you’re on a mobile phone, to the mobile banking app.
3. Confirm the transaction information
Once logged in, a confirmation screen is shown. It lists the receiver’s name (the merchant), description, and the transaction amount. Select the account from which you’ll make the payment and confirm the payment.
4. Complete the transaction
Now you complete the transaction by using your token for authentication. That can be done with the well-known ‘bingo’ card or a small device with digits. Either way, confirm by entering your password, pin, or text message code.
5. Finalize the transaction
You did it! The bank approves the payment and deducts the amount from your bank account in real-time.
6. Merchant receives payment
Immediately after your bank’s approval, the merchant receives the payment in their own bank account. To make it even more convenient: an immediate confirmation lets them know that the payment was successful.
7. Back to the merchant’s page
You are redirected to the merchant’s page, where you receive confirmation that the payment was successful. Your transaction is complete!”
The advantages of Sentoo
While A2A is not a novel concept in the global arena (it has already existed in the European digital payment market for nearly two decades), it is largely untapped in the Caribbean. And apart from being an innovative payment method in the region, Sentoo also has the advantage of being less expensive than credit card payments. This makes a significant difference not just for business owners but also for customers. Sentoo transactions are done in the local currency and have affordable pricing that cost at least 60% less than credit card transactions.
Merchants that offer A2A payments benefit from secure transactions in the online banking environment. This adds an extra layer of security since payment information is never shared with businesses. In an age of data breaches and leaks of highly valuable (credit card) information, this is especially important.
A2A also offers reach (anyone with a bank account), security, great conversion (no data entry), lower costs (no intermediaries), and no chargebacks (all payments are final).
Sentoo also offers payment links and QR codes
Sentoo also offers other options for mobile payment. Among them are payment links. Payment links are links created by Sentoo that contain payment information. These can be distributed to clients via WhatsApp or SMS messages. They can subsequently click the link to be connected to the payment process performed in the banking environment.
This is particularly handy for merchants who do not have a website or any other online avenue on which to sell their goods and services — this continues to be a demographic group to take into account in the Caribbean region. Furthermore, studies have shown that payment links are an excellent method for increasing payments that occur within 24 hours by 40%.
Another mobile payment option Sentoo offers is the Sentoo QR code. This code can be added to a company’s or entrepreneur’s billing system, and billed parties can complete their payment in the same way they would on a banking website by scanning this QR code. When it is scanned, it pre-fills all of the payment information, streamlining and simplifying the payment process.
How it got started
Sentoo was founded by entrepreneurs with Curaçaoan roots, Vincent van Rutten and Joris van Summeren. Both have lived and studied abroad and have firsthand knowledge of the online banking environment in other countries, having experienced different online payment methods as account holders. This provided them with insight into the numerous opportunities available in the online banking world and how so few of them were being offered in Curaçao.
When they returned to the island and began their business careers, through which they came into regular contact with the local payment processes, they often found themselves asking, “How come we don’t have this digital option yet?” or “How come it’s taking so long?” As a result, they decided to take matters into their own hands in 2016 and contribute to the modernization of payment options in the Dutch Caribbean. Thus, Sentoo was born, a company with a staff of mainly local professionals.
Sentoo’s services are currently available in Curaçao, the Caribbean Netherlands, Aruba, and Sint Maarten through the Banco di Caribe bank. The second bank partner will be announced soon and will also roll out its services across all of the Dutch Caribbean.
The Sentoo team ultimately aspires to make online payments not only affordable, but also accessible to anyone with a local bank account in the Dutch Caribbean, and, by extension, the Caribbean as a whole. To that end, they have already started talks with interested parties in some Anglo-Caribbean islands.
The dream is inching closer.