Hyper inflation in Caracas, Venezuela has created nightmares for tasks that should be simple. For example, a $3 cup of coffee cost 2,200 bolivars. The highest denomination for a bolivar is 50 or 100. There has to be some smart fintech entrepreneurs who could build a mobile payments solution.
With all this money floating around, no one really wants it. Venezuela must be the only country in Latin America where for most transactions, shops would rather take your credit card than your cash. Foreign credit cards, like mine from the United States, use an absurd rate — something I’ll come back to in future posts. But even Willie, armed with Venezuelan plastic, has been having problems lately. Coming home after some grocery shopping recently, he told me his tale of woe. The card reader had broken down. “Do you have cash?” asked the cashier. Definitely not enough — his grocery outing cost him 33,000 bolivars.