Remittance Recipients in Jamaica Opting for Cashless Transactions

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Leesa Kow, General Manager, JN Money Services Limited (JNMS), says usage of the JN Money Transfer Card offered by its parent organisation, Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), is growing as more Jamaicans adopt a cashless approach to conducting financial transactions.

Bank of Jamaica data indicate that transactions at automated banking machines (ABM) and point-of-sale (POS) terminals have increased significantly in volume since 2009, with transactions increasing at POS terminals from some 1.5 million transactions per month in 2009 to about 2.2 million per month in 2012, at a total value of over $17.4 billion at the end of 2012. And, the value of transactions in 2009 was approximately $8.6 billion.

Similarly, more persons are also opting to collect remittances using the JN Money Transfer Card Miss Kow says. The card, introduced in 2004 by JNBS in partnership with JNMS, has become a boon to recipients, in Jamaica. It allows recipients to access funds received via money transfers using a debit-like electronic card at ABMs; to make purchases at point-of-sale terminals; and access merchant discounts.

The card, which is offered to only remittance recipients in Jamaica, is free to customers and can be used without charge at JNBS’ 54 ABM locations in Jamaica.

“We have seen an 80 percent increase in persons registering for the card in the past year alone; and, similarly, there has been a significant growth in the usage of the card to access money transfers,” Miss Kow said.

She also noted that there was an average increase of 16 percent in funds sent to the card from overseas for the June to August period this year, when compared to the same period in 2012. There was also an average eight percent increase in persons who used the cards to send funds across the island.

“This is not a new technology to us; but, it is still unique and provides an opportunity for JNMS to create a more efficient platform for remittance distribution,” she stated, explaining that, “the card is still the only technology of its type being used by a money transfer company, locally.”

Speaking to the security provided by the card, Miss Kow said, “We recognise that we live in an environment, which requires us to not only send funds in real time; but, also, to enable recipients to access funds on demand, in a secure, cashless context.”

In addition, persons in Jamaica may also use the card to gain special discounts of up to 20 percent from more than 100 merchant locations across the island, including at select pharmacies, supermarkets, restaurants, and motor vehicle parts and service providers and a host of other merchants.

Miss Kow further revealed that starting January 2014 persons wishing to conduct face to face remittance transactions at JN locations will need to visit any of the 17 JN MoneyShops operated by JNBS across Jamaica, as JNBS will discontinue bill payments and remittance services at its branches.

And, Miss Kow says persons may also continue to collect their JN Money Transfers at all other 78 JN Money Transfer Agents such as Courts furniture stores, COK and several other credit unions across the island.

“JNBS in its drive to improve efficiency in its banking halls will offer remittance services only at JN MoneyShops, which offer more flexible opening hours; but, with the JN Money Transfer Card customers will have the option to access their money at their convenience,” Miss Kow said, pointing out that there is a growing move by remittance companies to use information and communication technology to improve remittance distribution.

Some JN Money Transfer customers, such as Ann-Marie Wisdom of Alexandria, a rural community in St. Ann, have already fully adapted to the cashless approach to remittance collection. She receives her money transfers using only her JN Money Transfer Card, noting that the card is not only convenient, but provides her with a sense of security.

“It’s good. I don’t have to walk with cash and because of the time we are now living in, it makes things much easier,” she said. “I simply use my card at the stores where I shop and at the supermarket,” she added, noting that she has been using her card for more than four years.

“We are constantly being exposed to new technologies, and we need to encourage more people to adapt to the use of it,” Miss Kow affirmed, “And, although the JN Money Transfer Card is not a new technology, it’s a step ahead of where we are now with the distribution of remittances in Jamaica; and it will help to prepare us to accept newer technologies, which are on the horizon,” Miss Kow affirmed.

“Technology is a reality and adopting it improves our lives rather than creating inconveniences,” she affirmed.

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