NASSAU, BAHAMAS- The Bank of The Bahamas (BOB) will soon become the latest authorised financial institution (AFI) to begin providing SandDollar wallet services to customers in a targeted and phased rollout according to the Central Bank, with the regulator also revealing technical developments and upgrades for mobile wallet providers.
In a recently released public update on the SandDollar, the regulator noted that as of June 2023, the Bank of The Bahamas (BOB) will become the latest AFI to begin providing SandDollar wallet services to customers in a targeted and phased rollout. The Central Bank noted that it collaborated closely with BOB to allow the institution to pilot limited use of the original SandDollar app, before the deployment to customers.
There are currently nine approved digital wallet providers and seven active digital wallet providers. There are 104, 664 consumer wallets and 1,512 merchants wallets and 455 active Sand Dollar merchants.
The regulator also noted that technical developments to extend proprietary wallet access to the Bahamas Automated Clearing House (ACH) via the SandDollar infrastructure have been completed.
“This facility is set for release to the SandDollar digital wallet providers at the end of May. In the meantime, the first iteration of Wallet 2.0, which will permit user self-activation, progressed to beta testing, with a general release targeted for the middle of the summer,” the Central Bank noted.
The regulator also revealed that it has completed developments to extend ACH top-up, redemption access to the proprietary SandDollar-enabled digital wallets. Digital wallet providers can begin activating this customer feature by the end of this month. SandDollar wallet holders of all levels will be able to use this feature, once provided with a top-up address through their respective digital wallet provider.
According to the Central Bank, all mobile wallet account holders will be able to use the third-party transfer features within their online and mobile banking applications to send funds to their SandDollar accounts, regardless of wallet level or wallet provider. While all wallets will be able to receive top-ups from bank accounts, only account holders who have successfully undertaken enhanced KYC for Tier II (individuals) and Tier III (businesses) statuses will be permitted to redeem SandDollars through linked bank deposit accounts. The SandDollar redemption process transfers SandDollars from a wallet to the linked bank account. Such users must perform a penny test successfully before redemption links can be used. To prepare for the expanded access to the ACH, the Central Bank will release instructional videos on completing online top-ups using each commercial banking platform.
The Central Bank also noted that in June, it will commence beta testing of the white-labelled Wallet 2.0 for automatic self- onboarding of users to lower KYC (Tier I) wallets. This app is targeted for release to the public in August 2023. It would provide the users with access to a branded version of the Central Bank-developed app linked to the SandDollar Authorised Financial Institution (AFI) of choice selected by the individual. Wallet 2.0 also provides merchant services features, which are scheduled for a later 2023 release date.