Mon | Dec 10, 2018

Digicel MyCash to roll out in Florida, New York

Published:Friday | September 7, 2018 | 12:00 AM
A screen grab of a section of the Digicel MyCash website targeted at the US market.

Simultaneous with the Jamaica roll-out of MyCash, Digicel Group will be offering the mobile wallet and prepaid card to subscribers in the United States, but there its banking partner is Metropolitan Commercial Bank.

Digicel aims to market the product in Florida and New York, but says it will announce the details at a future date.

"Both products have a local 'send and receive money' feature; except that MyCash customers in the USA are also able to instantly send money to MyCash customers in Jamaica," said the telecoms through Regional Communications Manager Elon Parkinson.

"We are working with our banking partner in the USA, Metropolitan Commercial Bank, who provides our regulatory approval to offer the MyCash product in Florida and New York. As such, all other initiatives involving MyCash will be announced in due time."

Mastercard is the technology partner for MyCash in both Jamaica and the United States. The wallet allows for money transfers, bill payment and retail purchases, while the card can be used at ATMs internationally, wherever Mastercard is accepted.

The MyCash US website notes that for Jamaicans to receive remittances through the mobile wallet from senders in the US, they would have to open a MyCash account with Sagicor Bank, which is the Jamaican partner for the wallet.

"Once they have activated their MyCash card and you've loaded money on to your card, you can start sending money to Jamaica for less," the website instructs.

In tapping remittances, Digicel goes up against Western Union and MoneyGram which together dominate the remittance space, globally and in Jamaica. Digicel MyCash touts Mastercard's presence in 100 countries, while Western Union, which is currently rolling out its digital remittance platform globally, said last month that the service was expanding to 200 countries, having debuted earlier this year in a few markets, including Jamaica and elsewhere in the region.

Jamaica receives US$2 billion of remittance inflows annually, 62 per cent of which is sent from the United States, and Western Union, through local partner and agent GraceKennedy Money Services, controls the majority of that market. GraceKennedy at one time claimed control of 50 per cent of the local market, but the company has ceased commenting on market size in the past year or two.

Sagicor Bank told the Financial Gleaner that the investment in MyCash was "significant", and shared by Digicel and the bank, but that was as precise as it got to disclosing what sort of resources went into developing the mobile wallet.

Activation of the MyCard app and card is free, but there are charges for the different transactions. Sagicor did not provide a range, but said the information is available through the app once downloaded to a user's smartphone or other mobile device

The MyCash US website lists a range of fees, including a remittance charge of US$5 plus a 2.25 per cent foreign exchange charge per transaction, while ATM withdrawals and balance enquiries will cost US$2. Free services include account registration, initial card issued, direct deposits, received funds, domestic purchases, sending money domestically and app balance enquiry.

Parkinson's email said MyCash "has been well received" in Jamaica, without data to back up the assertion. Sagicor Bank, when asked about market reception to the wallet and card, said the information was confidential.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com