Alliance launches first non-bank card
Alliance Payment Services Limited launched the first prepaid card issued by a non-bank operation, which seeks to get more Jamaicans within the formal financial system.
“It is about safety. Sometimes people come out of an agent location with a bundle of cash and we don’t want that,” said Peter Chin, president of Alliance Group of Companies, at the launch of the card at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel in Kingston on Thursday.
Alliance Payment Services is the first non-bank entity to obtain authorisation from the Bank of Jamaica to issue a prepaid card in Jamaica.
Alliance Payment is an associated company of Alliance Financial Services Limited, which is an agent for MoneyGram, and has over 50 subagents nationwide.
The Alliance card, which is co-branded with MasterCard, will allow customers to withdraw cash at most ATMs, including those owned by NCB and Scotiabank.
Starting next Friday, May 11, persons can apply for the card at Alliance’s head office in New Kingston or its agents islandwide. Customers for the moment can load the cards with remittances from overseas but also send money from card to card locally via an android app. The card is free to customers, but its usage will cost them $40 per withdrawal and $10 at point of sale outlets.
The service took two years to come to fruition and follows the introduction of guidelines back in 2014, said Alliance vice president Robert Chin.
Most Jamaicans remain unbanked but the Government wants to change that through legislation and private sector innovation.
Part of that includes collaborations with large existing vendors, said Minister of Finance, Dr Nigel Clarke.
“Of great significance is the fact that the guidelines provide collaboration with existing service providers to bring innovative payment solutions to the market,” said Clarke at the launch of the Alliance card.
Clarke said that the advancement of these payment methods aids the digitalisation of the economy which reducing cost of business. To date, the BOJ has authorised four electronic retail service providers.
“The service providers are directly relevant to the daily business of Jamaicans. Depending on the providers the services include bill payment, person to person benefits, e-cards, point of sale machines, accounting enquiries, remittance disbursement and others,” Clarke added.
MasterCard was represented at the event by Uhreil Bedoya, the country manager for Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Bermuda and Haiti.