Sun | Feb 18, 2018

GraceKennedy gets approval to launch mobile money

Published:Friday | December 23, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Michelle Allen
Don Wehby

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has granted GraceKennedy Payment Services a licence to take its mobile money solution to the public through GraceKennedy Money Services (GKMS) locations islandwide.

This comes at the successful conclusion of a nine-month pilot project, which saw participation of more than 250 internal customers.

Branded GK MPay, the service will allow users to pay bills, pay for goods and services at retail locations, top up mobile phones, execute peer-to-peer transactions, among other undertakings, using their mobile phones.

It will bring a host of payment options, reduce the need to manage large sums of cash on the go, and facilitate payment or money-service needs without hassle in a much shorter time period, GraceKennedy said in a release yesterday.

The product will be launched in January 2017.

"GK MPay is a world-class service which makes use of the best technology in order to create a 'one-stop shop' for a range of transactions," it quoted Chief Executive Office of GraceKennedy Don Wehby as saying.

"This innovative product will help increase financial inclusion, while giving the financially savvy another safe, convenient way to transact business," he added.

Wehby said "this move into the mobile payment arena is aligned with our mission to reach customers through the use of multipayment channels. GraceKennedy is one of the Caribbean's largest and most dynamic businesses, and we continue to strengthen our connection to Jamaica with mobile money as the newest way of achieving that goal."

He said the launch of GK MPay puts Jamaica ahead of several other countries, demonstrating the country's unlimited potential to thrive in a globally competitive market.

Chief Executive Officer of GKMS Michelle Allen said that that "it is our aim to use GK MPay to ensure financial inclusion and transform the lives of Jamaican men and women who want to engage with other service platforms."

She said mobile money is easily accessible and can facilitate economic empowerment and economic growth. "Our customers will be able to make purchases of goods and services quickly and easily, from the jerk chicken man to paying for taxi service in the wee hours of the morning," Allen said.

Safe and secure

According to the GKMS CEO, "This safe and secure service will allow all users to participate in the latest form of technology, which gives them power in the palm of their hands and access anywhere they go."

GK MPay is safe and secure and is facilitated on a technology platform developed by Oberthur Technologies (OT), a global leader in embedded security software products and services, the GraceKennedy statement said.

"OT is at the forefront of digital payments. OT contributed its expertise, relying on a field of proven, scalable and secure mobile financial-services platform," said Pierre Barrial, managing director of the Mobile Network Operators unit at OT.

GK MPay will be facilitated on both of Jamaica's mobile telephone networks, Digicel and Flow, with customers being able to use all smartphones as well as some basic-feature phones.

GK MPay will have access points from GKMS locations across all parishes. To register for GK MPay, customers must take their Taxpayer Registration Number and a valid government issued photo-identification to any participating GKMS location.

In December 2015, BOJ confirmed that it had approved five mobile money pilots, including mobile wallets, but declined to name the entities involved, saying it would be a breach of confidentiality.

However, GraceKennedy, as well as Victoria Mutual Building Society, JMMB, Lasco Financial Services, National Commercial Bank and Digicel late confirmed that they were in various stages with respect to their plans for the product.

Up to May this year, only the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League's mobile wallet Conec, which allowed maximum transfers of $150,000 daily, existed in the emerging mobile money market.