A Cashless Economy: The end of Cash transactions

Whoever invented money certainly made it easier for us to acquire goods and services. It was not imagined by them that we would one day have an easier way of making said payments. We have gone full speed into the cashless system. With the swipe of a plastic card you may purchase goods and services in almost any country you visit around the world. If that was ground-breaking, imagine using a micro chip to pay for things, as is now being introduced in Sweden.

We, in Jamaica, are always playing catch up. Cashless transactions are growing. The advent of the prepaid VISA card by Scotiabank made inroads into the market. Debit card payments are still a main stay as a form of payment. The annoying thing is that some vendors are requiring you to spend a minimum of $500 or even $1,000 JMD in order to use the card. Wouldn’t all those little payments add up? I’ve always wondered if taking a number of small payments wouldn’t allow them to earn more while covering their costs.

On June 18, 2018, Sagicor Bank launched their newest offering called SWYPE. This service represents the first mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) in the Jamaica. The mPOS essentially allows a vendor to accept cashless payments on a mobile device once they have data service. The small, handheld instrument accepts both credit and debit cards. It connects with your cell phone via Bluetooth and allows for the customer to make a payment in a few simple steps.

What you need: 
A Sagicor Bank account.
The mPOS device.
An android phone and data connection.

Sorry iOS users, this one is not for you. Data connectivity (or Wi-Fi) is just about possible in every habitable space in Jamaica. Both Digicel and Flow have rolled out their 4G LTE network island wide. Parts of western Jamaica, however, lack sufficient and consistent coverage.

Suite of Transactions

  • Debit card sale
  • Credit card sale
  • Void Debit/Credit card sales
  • Send receipts to clients
  • View reports

 See their demo video:

What does this mean?

Having a card is no longer a hindrance to doing business.
This means that small-to-medium enterprise (SME), street vendors, taxis, and delivery services will be able to accept cashless payments. The jerk-pan man is now equipped to receive cashless payment for a quarter of jerked chicken. This increase in sales will greatly improve the profitability for these small businesses. It must now be agreed that vendors remove or reduce the limit set for which cards can be used.

No longer will one need to carry a wad of cash when travelling to the rural parts of the island. This makes for a greater sense of security. It’s also much more convenient for would-be buyers, who oftentimes have to walk away without a desired product, because the vendor only accepts cash. No more trips to the ATM to get cash for a purchase. Think about the savings in time spent to make these detours to find ATM machines.

Delivery companies will be able to monitor payments remotely and update their accounts. The delivery persons are much safer also, as they no longer need to drive or ride around with cash.

No paper required. It’s a paperless system. Receipts are completely electronic. These take the form of an email or SMS text.

Deficiencies
Only JAMAICAN dollars accepted
The tourism industry will not benefit significantly. This represents a possible area of future growth. Visitors should be able to use their cards with small vendors like those in the craft markets and small restaurants.

There is a slight delay with when payments are reflected in the vendor’s account. It appears that transactions done on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday won’t be reflected until Tuesday of the following week.

Those with Apple devices will not be a part of this movement at this stage. Sagicor has indicated that the mPOS device they offer is only compatible with Android phones.

No back-up battery is provided. This means you need a mobile charger on hand or access to an electrical outlet to recharge the device. They recommend that battery power be kept at a minimum of 30%.

Conclusion

The potentials are enormous for both vendors and purchasers. Cashless payments are now standard. The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) recently announced they are working on the regulations for mobile money (cryptocurrency). Tremendous growth prospects are in our economic outlook. However, the greater point is that you and I will have the ease, convenience and security when shopping even at a stall.

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