RESIDENTS IN six rural communities are to benefit from the new 'JN Swipe', a project being rolled out in Balaclava and Southfield in St Elizabeth; Lionel Town in Clarendon; Grange Hill in Westmoreland; Lawrence Tavern in St Andrew, and Yallahs in St Thomas, by the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) Foundation.
Residents are now able to make financial transactions by 'swiping' their existing JNBS 24/7 Teller debit card at participating merchants in their communities to access cash from their accounts and purchase items from all participating companies; receive remittances via the JN Money Transfer card, and pay their JN Small Business loans.
The merchants in the communities, working in partnership with the JN Foundation, will facilitate the service through the provision of point-of-sale terminals and mobile cellular phone data system, said Saffrey Brown, general manager of JN Foundation. She explained that the services will be accessed through the use of JNMT cards as well as the JNBS 24/7 Teller Debit Card for members of Jamaica National.
The JN Swipe project emerged from a partnership between JN Foundation and the Inter- Ameri-can Development Bank and its objective is to make financial service more readily available to persons living in rural comm-unities.
"This project will help to remove the 'poverty penalty' where persons of lower income level tend to pay a higher financial cost to access financial services and basic amenities. Residents will be able to stay in their communities and access necessary financial services," she explained.
Brown said the partnership will facilitate the roll-out of the JN Swipe in 10 rural communities. "The project is being piloted first in these rural communities and will be rolled out shortly to the rest of Jamaica," she explained. "We are, in essence, removing the barriers to financial access for our rural clients."
She said the project is also likely to boost business activity for these communities as residents can now "bank on their communities in more ways than one".
The project received partial funding through the Multilateral Investment Fund, a member of the IDB Group.