Global card company Mastercard is working with its banking partners to implement money-sending services in Jamaica utilising its network.
The mobile application will come online in 2021, according to Dalton Fowles, country manager for Mastercard in Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.
“Before the end of next year, the Jamaican people will be able to enjoy peer-to-peer transfers from their phones,” said Fowles, at an event marking the company’s one-year anniversary in Jamaica.
He added that it would meet all the regulatory guidelines and allow for transfers between all banking platforms, which is referred to in the industry as interoperability.
Mastercard is deepening its operations in Jamaica’s payments market at a time when the providers of mobile money services are struggling to get subscribers to hop aboard.
Fowles acknowledged that local mobile wallets have not taken off, but said the solution provided by Mastercard would provide further value by tapping into its global network.
“We are having conversations with various stakeholders about making sure as a market we can introduce peer-to-peer mobile transfers. A lot of companies have tried it in the past and it hasn’t been successful,” he said.
Mastercard wants to convert into electronic transfers some of the cash in local circulation, which was hovering at around US$9 billion to US$11 billion – or roughly $1.5 trillion in local currency – in 2019, Fowles said.
Details on the precise working of the application were undisclosed as negotiations are ongoing. Fowles added, however, that the solution would also seek to woo Jamaicans without formal bank accounts as their entry into the formal system.
“Imagine what it would mean for those who are heavily cash dependent and have a legitimate business,” he said, while noting service would keep records of inflows and outflows per user. “They will have the records that they can take to their bank and say ‘These are my flows. I have a great idea and I want to expand my business’.”
A year ago, Mastercard decided to expand its Caribbean presence, setting up an office in Jamaica with the commitment to develop and innovate a secure payment ecosystem in this market. It aims to bring new technologies to increase access to money while securing commerce, physical and digitally.
As part of its back-end services, the company introduced Mastercard Digital Enablement Service which gives cardholders an added layer of security when shopping. With this system, consumers can record their card credentials on their connected device, mobile wallet, or online merchant site without the risk of exposing the actual card account details.
Mastercard International recently announced a commitment of US$250 million to be deployed over five years to support small businesses in financial, technology, product, and insight assets globally. Simultaneously, the company expanded its worldwide commitment to financial inclusion, pledging to bring a total of one billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses into the digital economy by 2025. Part of that effort includes direct focus on providing 25 million women entrepreneurs with solutions to grow their businesses.