NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Mastercard and digital payment solutions provider Island Pay yesterday announced the launch of the world’s first Central Bank digital currency-linked card.
Island Pay Managing Director Jeffrey Beckles told Eyewitness News: “We have been working diligently with the Central Bank with the Sand Dollar project. We wanted to support the governor’s vision of creating financial inclusion for every Bahamian and this is one of those areas we felt good supporting.
“Island Pay developed its mobile wallet and now we are taking things to the next step to ensure that Bahamians have access not only to the digital wallet but also Mastercard, with the ability to conduct transaction in Bahamian and US dollars.”
He added: “It’s important to note that we are the first in the sector to provide usability support for Sand Dollar.”
The arrangement with Mastercard gives users an additional option to use the Sand Dollar — a digital version of Bahamian currency. The Bahamas Sand Dollar prepaid card gives users the option to instantly convert the digital currency to traditional Bahamian dollars and pay for goods and services anywhere Mastercard is accepted in The Bahamas and around the world.
According to Beckles, Island Pay has 20,000 active wallet holders.
“We believe that number will grow. We [see] some significant growth ahead,” said Beckles.
He further noted that the MasterCard arrangement signals significant confidence in the Central Bank and Island Pay.
“Mastercard is a global brand and highly respected payments and technology company. For Mastercard to demonstrate this level of confidence, that is a really big deal for The Bahamas and Island Pay,” said Beckles.
“It speaks to the possibilities of Bahamians partnering with global entities to move the needle in The Bahamas. We are living in a very innovative world. There are a lot of talented and gifted Bahamians who have been working on the Island Pay team.”