A new partnership between Indonesian bitcoin exchange Bitcoin.co.id and the Indomaret convenience store chain is set to bring cryptocurrency payments to over 10,000 new locations in the Southeast Asian country. The new service is powered by payment gateway iPaymu, giving bitcoin transactions a serious credibility boost in the region. Using the new system, Indonesians will be able to buy and sell bitcoin in person at Indomaret stores (for a small fee), as well as use their BTC to pay a host of bills through the iPaymu system.
The partnership’s implications are huge for Indonesia, a country where an estimated 80 percent of the population has no access to traditional banking. That “unbanked” population is huge — roughly 200 million people — almost all of which rely on services like Indomaret’s in-store payments to handle their increasingly digital bill payments. With no ability to digitally store or transfer value, access to bitcoin could provide a significant quality of life improvement for many Indonesians. With an estimated 6.5 million Indonesian migrant workers sending around $7.2 billion home every year, the Indomaret partnership may also provide a significant savings in remittance fees for many families.
There are few details about the fees charged by iPaymu for the bitcoin-payment service, although the company’s existing payment schedule of 1% for transactions is likely to apply. It’s not yet clear what fees, if any, would apply to cash withdrawals for bitcoin balances at Indomaret locations, although fees for bank deposits and post office withdrawals range from $10 to $35 USD.