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Supreme Ventures may connect with Conec

Published:Friday | June 5, 2015 | 6:00 AM
Jermaine Barnaby/Photographer The login page to the mobile wallet app that was launched by JCCUL on September 24, 2014. The services has been rebranded 'Conec'.

Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League (JCCUL) sources confirmed this week that lottery company Supreme Ventures Limited had approached the group over the possible use of its mobile money platform for the roll-out of mobile betting.

"They have not signed anything," the official said, but "we have had discussions".

JCCUL, through its investment subsidiary Centralised Strategic Services Limited, was the first to roll out a mobile payment system, which was later upgraded to a mobile wallet product, called Conec.

The credit union group said Supreme Ventures may be feeling out other potential mobile money partners.

"But anyone else they are speaking with would need a licence," said the representative.

The only other approved mobile money operation is GraceKennedy Payment Service Limited's as yet unnamed product, which is likely to roll out in July. Its service is expected to include the loading of remittances, peer-to-peer transfers, credit top-ups, and bill payments.

On Wednesday, Supreme Ventures declined direct comment on the potential partnership with JCCUL, saying only that they were looking at several options and were further bound by non-disclosure agreements. The company is aiming for an October roll-out of its mobile lottery platform, and says the related software is being worked on in three jurisdictions - Jamaica, India, and Greece, the latter being its ultimate parent's home country.

"We are looking at the best options available for the platform," said CEO of Supreme Venture, Brian George, on Wednesday, in responses channelled through his vice-president for communications, Sonia Davidson.

"We are under non-disclosure agreements with all parties and so no comment can be made."

Conec went live in September 2014. The new digital wallet allows users to receive and send cash of maximum $150,000 in value to other registered users, top up phone credit, transfer money between credit union accounts, pay selected utility bills and check account balances. It was an upgrade to forerunner JCUES, an e-payment system.

know what they're doing

Noting Supreme Venture's October timeline for its mobile product, the JCCUL official said, "Whatever they do, they will need to integrate with an approved payment platform for the product itself to be approved."

He said that if the lottery company were to originate its payment platform, they would have to go through the required due diligence process, which is fairly lengthy.

"They need to have access to an approved payment system, of which the only one currently in play is Conec; otherwise, they will need to put in place their own infrastructure on the betting side," he said.

In April, Kavin Hewitt, chief executive officer of JCCUL's technology partner, Mozido Jamaica Limited, said Conec was being used principally for airtime top-up and person-to-person transfers.

The owners of Conec themselves are awaiting further approval from mobile money regulator, Bank of Jamaica, to expand the service's commercial offerings.

"Given the current approvals in place, the take-up has been reasonable thus far and we look forward to final approval and a full commercial launch to be in a much better place to see and measure consumer adoption," Hewitt said then.

"We believe that new entrants to the market will provide competitive pressure. However, it will also increase consumer awareness of the benefits of the mobile wallet and further stimulate usage for all issuers," Hewitt said.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com