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Jamaica National to issue Visa credit card

Published:Wednesday | May 4, 2016 | 12:00 AMNeville Graham
Earl Jarrett (left), general manager of the Jamaica National Building Society, addresses the Racers Track Club Reception and Silent Auction, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Sunday.

Jamaica National, which is now transitioning from a building society to a commercial bank, has developed a credit card that it is discretely issuing to select clients.

The card, co-branded with Visa, was unveiled at the Racers Mini-Museum at Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston on Sunday, May 1. It was available preapproved, fully activated and ready-for-use to a few guests who signed up.

The new JN Visa card uses EMV technology, which takes its name from the card schemes Europay, MasterCard and Visa the original card companies that developed the chip card technology.

JN will bump the number of commercials banks in Jamaica up to seven. While other banks have announced plans to issue EMV cards, JN is touting itself as being first to market.

"This is our country's first EMV chip and PIN credit card, which will allow holders to use their Jamaican cards in Europe, where only chip and PIN cards are accepted," said Jamaica National's group general manager, Earl Jarrett, at Sunday's soft launch of JN Visa Gold.

The dual-currency card is also tenable in markets where a chip technology is not widely used. Cardholders may transact business in Jamaican or US dollars.

However, JN was unwilling to offer additional details, such as interest rate and charges, instead sending a release with comments made by Jarrett at the weekend event.

"Our members have been requesting distinctive products, such as this one, for a long time; and we are happy that we are at that stage where we can move to facilitate their demands," Jarrett said.

It's understood that JN plans to officially launch the card after June but before yearend. It is entering a market now valued at over $212 billion.