QCOSTARICA – Sinpe Móvil is easy to use. From your phone, you can send money to friends, family and pay for things. Or receive money. The transfer is quick, simple, without cost* and tax free.
Well, for now.
In the last weeks, there has been an uproar over the possibility that Sinpe Móvil transfers will be more expensive for users causes the Ministry of Finance (Ministerio de Hacienda) has raised the possibility of taxing Sinpe Móvil transactions, as it seeks a way to reinforce the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) – Impuesto sobre el Valor Agregado (IVA) in Spanish)- to those who use Sinpe as a means of payment, that is, on the purchases of goods and services.
However, the tax authority adds that neither VAT nor any other tax will be part of the collection of money movements between own accounts, remittances in favor of family or friends, or remittances where there is no transaction for the purchase and sale of goods or services.
Herein lies the problem for Hacienda. Is paying your mechanic directly to his or her bank account – not a business account – the purchase of a service or a simple transfer between two people?
The attention on the subject arises because Sinpe is a mechanism that moves many millions of colones per month.
“In Sinpe, transactions that would pay VAT outside Sinpe must pay VAT. Not one more, not one less. It is the duty of the Ministry of Finance to combat tax evasion, that is why we cannot allow some companies that charge in this way and include VAT on the amount charged, do not transfer it to the Treasury,” the Treasury reported in a statement.
For the consumer, a benefit of using Sinpe is to pay is not having to use or carry cash, and have to go looking for an ATM. And in the case of my example of paying your mechanic, there is a saving.
How to get and use Sinpe Móvil
If you don’t already have it, you need to contact your bank in person or online to set up your Sinpe Móvil by providing your telephone number.
You can only set up your with one financial institution at a time. That is if you bank at two or more institutions, only one Sinpe Móvil account to your one phone. You can switch at any time.
All Sinpe Móvil transactions are in colones, thus you need to have the phone linked to your colones account.
To make a payment, open your bank’s app, enter the telephone number you want to send payment to (the name of the account holder will then appear), enter the amount and press send.
The transaction can also be done by way of your bank online. Remember to use Sinpe Móvil not Sinpe which has a transaction fee if transferring to account at another bank.
To receive money or payment, once you have your Sinpe Móvil number set up at the bank, just provide the person paying you your telephone number. Depending on the financial institution, an instant message is sent to you.
* Sinpe Móvil transactions generally under ¢100,000 colones have no cost, a transaction fee is applied on amounts over. Some financial institutions have begun to raise that to ¢200,000