J.E.T.S eyes mobile money space for expansion
J.E.T.S Limited, operator of the Multilink electronic cash system owned by local banks, is knitting together an interface between the Multilink electronic cash system and mobile money and other e-payment products offered by its shareholders.
J.E.T.S operates the Multilink system on behalf of the local banks that own it.
CEO Edmundo Jenez says he aims to leverage the shared technology in a way that saves resources but increase security for users. It involves the roll-out of EMV card technology, which is being invested in separately by banking shareholders.
J.E.T.S, which just turned 21, is spending US$1.2 million over two years on upgrading software and the Multilink switch to accept other e-payment options, which Jenez said should lead to the future roll-out of new services.
The Multilink operator, before incorporation, began life as Jamaica Electronic Transfer services Association, but changed its name to J.E.T.S when the name was registered by an unrelated party. Its main business since that time has been the overseeing the integrated electronic transaction service, involving point of sale and automated teller machine terminals (ATMs's), under the Multilink brand.
The company is in the process of rolling out a branding campaign to raise J.E.T.S' public profile and position as more than just the manager of the cash network.
"Multilink ultimately has been the brand that people know about. But J.E.T.S has been evolving to be more recognisable to the public; to come from behind the Multilink brand," Jenez told Gleaner Business.
"We are bringing J.E.T.S to the forefront, the reason being that there are other services and developments that J.E.T.S is going to be able offer in the marketplace."
The EMV chip card technology that banks are now investing in is described as a technical standard for smart payment cards and for payment terminals and ATMs, developed for Europay, MasterCard and Visa.
"It basically means an upgrade to terminals and an upgrade to software. It also means an upgrade to the card to include the chip which allows for the card to be uniquely identified by the systems to reduce the likelihood of fraudulent or illegal cards being used on the network," said Jenez.
"The banks own the terminals that they deploy so they have been upgrading those terminals."
J.E.T.S, meantime, is upgrading the switching system for Multilink as part of the chip card project.
"We have been upgrading on our side, as well," he said. "What we are doing is not just for EMV we upgraded the switch to handle other functionalities as well it's a much bigger investment."
The J.E.T.S CEO described the plan to facilitate mobile money transactions as "work in progress".
"What we are looking to do is to create interoperability between some of the things that already exist and also to create standards to support it," he said.
"Some institutions already have a mobile presence out there. It would be wasteful of resources to ignore that and not find a way to incorporate them in a solution. So one of the things to look at is how all these systems can work together and ultimately deliver a uniform experience for customers."
Jenez said the cost for the upgrades is underwritten by the company's seven shareholders National Commercial Bank, Sagicor Bank, Victoria Mutual Building Society, CIBC FirstCaribbean Jamaica, JN Bank, Jamaica Cooperative Credit Union League and Scotiabank Jamaica.
CORRECTION: This article has been updated to correct the identity of one of the shareholders of J.E.T.S.