NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A digital payment provider said yesterday that while the digital/mobile wallet offering is still in the “ramp-up” phase locally, more small and medium-sized businesses are becoming open to the idea, particularly in the Family Islands.
Carlos Mackey, CEO, MoneyMaxx, one of the companies authorized by the Central Bank to distribute the Sand Dollar within its proprietary mobile wallet, said the initiative represents “a level of efficiency in terms of how the project was executed that has rarely been seen in the way that we do government and quasi-government activity in The Bahamas”.
Mackey said the Project Sand Dollar team has been extremely efficient and thorough in getting the project on stream.
“As far as digital wallets go in The Bahamas, we are still in the ramp-up phase. How long that phase goes is a function of what I would call the innovation and attractiveness of digital wallets but also the perceived need,” said Mackey.
He noted that COVID-19 has provided an opportunity where perceived need and actual need do align.
“I think for the digital wallet space to really take off, merchants have to be a bit more comfortable,” Mackey said.
“I think that with the retrenchment of some of the commercial banks in some of the Family Island communities, we are seeing a lot more openness by small and medium-sized businesses in particular.”
He added: “Once you have more of the merchants onboard, consumers will begin to get more comfortable. Some merchants don’t want to get on board until there is a critical mass of consumers. With retrenchment of the banks, more merchants and consumers are going to be more comfortable over the course of 2021.”
The Central Bank recently projected that access to The Bahamas’ digital currency will increase during the first quarter of 2021, as financial institutions continue to integrate the Sand Dollar into their mobile wallet platforms.
According to the regulator, to date, six firms have successfully completed the cybersecurity assessment and have been cleared to distribute the Sand Dollar within their proprietary mobile wallets.
It also noted that an additional three firms have begun the cybersecurity assessment process and are likely to complete this evaluation in early 2021. This second group includes one credit union and one commercial bank.