Jamaica’s electronic payment ecosystem enabling business continuity
Digital payments enabling business continuity

Social/physical distancing is part of the new normal for the Jamaican economy, as with many economies across the globe. For businesses this means enabling customers in different ways, including facilitating online payments.

Pointing to the growing trend of using digital services in the local economy, Head of Marketing, Donna Mesquita explained that, “Many people have been growing accustomed to doing business online for some time now. Most major commercial banks in Jamaica facilitate online transactions and have been, for years, migrating more of the services to channels that will move people out of the banking halls and away from the usual face-to-face interactions that have characterised the industry for decades.”

Tax Administration of Jamaica (TAJ) has been facilitating online payments for more than seven years now and has made some tax obligations payable only by that channel. In 2019 when the Companies Office of Jamaica made it possible to do electronic business registration, Prime Minister Holness, described the move as putting Jamaica on the “upswing of the digital era.”

Over time many technologies have been introduced to push the nation further toward normalising e-commerce transactions. Everything from mobile wallets, an increase in debit and credit card usage, ATMs, the 2018 release of at least two mobile point of sale options – Swype from Sagicor and NCB’s Mobile Card Machine – to the marketplace, coupon shopping from Gustazos, online transfers to remittance cards, facilitating direct-to-card inter and intra island transmission of funds, among others.

Spurred by robust government policy, all this points to an already established and expanding ecosystem and infrastructure that made it easy for, especially digitally enabled, businesses to keep going as the world adjusts to living with COVID-19.

Another key technology within the ecosystem that is ideal for these times are contactless payments (CTLS). Contactless technologies have been around for more than two decades now, used in security for building access, for example, but has since 2003 been adopted by EMV (the common technical standard used by major credit card and smartphone brands for e-transactions using smart payment cards, payment terminals and ATMs) to ease the friction or lag time for customers at the point of payment. In addition to EMV contact solutions, MC Systems developed EMV for the banking sector back in 2019. While maintaining security of the data during the transactions and in addition to lessening the time customers spent at a business location, CTLS can also boost efficiencies in a company’s checkout process.

Although the Jamaican economy is still largely a cash-based one, the trend in the use of cashless transactions reveals a steady growth in favour of the electronic payment ecosystem.  In fact, a post COVID-19 economy is likely to see the trend continuing and even resulting in the embrace of more digital payments.

Experts suggests that by now many businesses are in the process of recasting strategies and objectives based on the current market conditions. Critical to the revised outlook is the right investment in the type of electronic payment solution that not only complements the business continuity strategy but also will keep productivity up, costs down and the business going.

“Life in Jamaica will become more digital as the economy moves to living with COVID-19 and/or the solution to the pandemic is found. But, as the PM has encouraged, the economy must carry on, as best as possible. With the nation’s considerable electronic payment infrastructure, businesses have a range of options to help them keep going with very little or no disruption to this critical area of operations,” Donna Mesquita concludes.

MC Systems is here with you as your support technology partner. Let’s start the conversation. Contact us solutions@mcsystems.com | 876 552-8124 | 876 564-2231

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