The Gleaner Karena Bennett
Trinidadian company WiPay has partnered with Lasco Financial Services for the roll-out of a payment platform across Jamaica next month.
The product, which is already in Trinidad & Tobago, St Lucia, and Guyana, is targeted at Jamaica’s unbanked and small business owners, thereby enabling individuals without credit or debit cards to make purchases online using cash vouchers.
The roll-out of WiPay waits approval from the Bank of Jamaica.
With a network of over 140 locations in Jamaica, Lasco Financial will serve as a top-up location for customers looking to buy WiPay vouchers to make online purchases. Expectations are that Lasco Financial, through its Money Transfer agents, will charge customers a fee of $100 per voucher purchase.
WiPay allows small business owners to accept cash payments online by downloading the WiPay plugin on their website. The portal, which is also able to accept credit and debit card payment, imposes a standard charge for every credit card transaction of 3.5 per cent in addition to a $130 fee. WiPay will also make money from a charge of 3.5 per cent plus $130 for customers looking to load money from their credit card to the WiPay account.
“A customer can choose to check out or pay using WiPay, where they will be prompted to type in a unique 12-character voucher number or scan the QR code to make a digital cash payment anywhere that WiPay is accepted,” Founder and Chief Executive Officer of WiPay Aldwyn Wayne said during the launch of the product at the new AC Hotel Kingston on Thursday.
Managing Director of Lasco Financial Jacinth Hall-Tracey told the Financial Gleaner that the company entered “product development” discussions with WiPay last year.
“Fintech companies such as WiPay could be disruptive for our business model, but they address a number of customer challenges. They take the power from legacy businesses and place it squarely into hands of customers,” she said.
Hall-Tracey added that when legacy companies like hers embrace disruptive companies, together, they can fast-track transactions between the banked and the unbanked.
Wayne, who is also the founder of computer software solutions company Coldwater Software Technology and Powerline Communications of Trinidad & Tobago, wants to capture a greater share of business from Jamaica’s small business community with an invoicing system called Zwillo.
The application will allow small business owners to create and send invoices, get paid, and track taxes.
“Vendors can simply send an invoice from your WiPay account directly to your customer’s email account. The customer will receive an invoice in their email inbox and can then input their WiPay top up voucher numbers to make the payment. You can also download our Zwillo app and start receiving payments right from within the app,” Wayne explained.
So far, WiPay has partnered with several establishments, including Massy Stores, Caribbean Airlines, the Judiciary of Trinidad & Tobago, and Unipet and notes that its success in the three Caribbean islands is mainly due to individuals looking to reduce travel time in conducting business.
The company, which currently makes regional transfers to Jamaica, believes that the island could become a larger market than its home country, Trinidad & Tobago, as the Government of Jamaica pushes to design policies that allow all Jamaicans and businesses to participate in the financial sector.
Local financial institutions have rolled out solutions, including GK MPay, GK One, NCB Quisk, and First Global Bank’s agent banking network, partly aimed at bringing Jamaicans without bank accounts into the formal system by 2020. The new product lines also serve to diversify the institution’s revenue stream.