Sun | Dec 9, 2018

MConec changes strategy

Published:Friday | September 7, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Kavin Hewitt, managing director of MConec Mobile Payment Services Limited.

Nearly a year after losing its credit union mobile money partner and with no replacement yet, technology company MConec Mobile Payment Services has decided to 'white label' its mobile wallet technology by allowing prospective service providers to distribute customised versions under their own brand.

Under this arrangement, MConec would provide the infrastructure and collect a licensing fee for use of the MConec platform, which it would host.

Kavin Hewitt, managing director of MConec, said Wednesday that the company is in discussion with players in Jamaica and other markets as it seeks to build a client base for a product that promises to free them of back-end costs.

The technology company previously partnered with the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League (JCCUL) on the roll-out of e-payment portal JCUES, which was later upgraded to a mobile wallet and rebranded as Conec. They were the pioneers in the mobile money market, but the league pulled out last year due to limited subscriptions for Conec.

Hewitt has been using that near four-year experience to reconstruct a business model that is more sustainable for the wallet.

"Jamaica is too small for so many people with their own infrastructure operating a wallet. They are not going to see profitability in an extremely long time. With everyone who has launched the wallet, we have seen that," he said on Wednesday

Hewitt adds that he is aiming to provide an interoperable system, in the same way that JETS oversees the Multilink platform for card transactions on behalf of local banks.

Hewitt previously led the Caribbean operations of Mozido LLC, which initially partnered with JCCUL on the mobile money service in 2013. He bought out Mozido's interest in 2015 and renamed the local operation as MConec. Over the years, the investments in Conec have topped US$6 million, he said.

"Had the credit unions embraced Conec, it would have stood a chance of success," Hewitt charged. "It was not being treated as a product of the credit union, but a product of the credit union league."

In seeking out new business, the tech provider says eventually the current providers of the service will falter under the weight of the costs of providing wallet services in a market where cultural acceptance of e-payment systems remains a hurdle. In that scenario, he said, time was on his side.

"It makes no sense rushing. There will also be attrition. We are waiting to catch those who will be looking to cut costs by 50 per cent and even more. However long it takes, that's our position," Hewitt asserted.

"We are not just looking at Jamaica alone. We are looking at economies where this makes sense. Instead of everybody trying to do the same thing, they can focus on the differentiators they want in their own brand."

Hewitt said he is looking to Caribbean markets, as well as other countries with populations below 10 million, for take-up of MConec.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com