Winning over conservative Muslims in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country is both a challenge and multi-billion dollar opportunity for fintech firms that are riding its mobile internet boom and aim to sell financial services.
Of Indonesia's 270 million population, half lacks bank accounts but most now have mobile phones. Questions about compliance with Islamic law are a significant hurdle for the adoption of digital payments and other fintech services, industry executives say. Known as Sharia, the law strictly prohibits charging interest, or "riba", and clerics in Indonesia disagree on whether the popular cashback rebates and discounts given by digital wallets qualify. Social media videos in Indonesia on whether e-wallets are “haram” - prohibited by Islam - or incorporate "riba" rack up hundreds of thousands of views.