Digital transactions remain key to fostering financial inclusion across Jamaica.
In this context and following preparatory work by the administrators of the digital wallet, Lynk, people without a bank account are now among the individuals able to carry out transactions at certain automatic teller machines (ATMs) using their cell phone.
This is facilitated by the new Lynk ABM Cash in-Cash out feature. Lynk is currently the only approved wallet for the Jamaican Central Bank (CBDC) digital currency – JAM-DEX.
JAM-DEX, which was developed by the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ), provides a secure, efficient and convenient way to pay for goods and services. The National Commercial Bank (NCB) offers JAM-DEX through Lynk.
Lynk’s new feature allows people to deposit or withdraw funds using NCB’s approximately 300 ATMs across the island.
Addressing the recent media launch of the Cash Pickup feature at the NCB Atrium in New Kingston, Lynk Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vernon James said it is expected that a significant number of people will use installation.
“In the testing phase, we saw over 1,300 transactions. We expect to see exponential usage of this feature as users have 24/7 access to deposit or withdraw money whenever they need it,” he explained.
Since its launch in December 2021, Lynk has facilitated transactions worth more than $5 million, with the platform hosting around 145,000 individual customers and nearly 3,000 merchants.
The new feature targets Jamaicans reported as unbanked as well as those classified as underbanked, due to their limited use of the formal banking system.
“This free, contactless feature brings a new level of inclusiveness because it gives anyone, even those without a bank account, the ability to transact digitally…and the process is simple and easy. You just have to go to the ATM, choose deposit and withdrawal [feature] from the Lynk wallet in the app, scan the ABM QR code using your Lynk app to log in to the ABM and complete the transaction,” he said.
Mr James said that as well as being fast, the process also offers security, noting that people are not required to enter an account number.
“There’s no need to swipe or insert a card…so you don’t have to worry about card fraud. Additionally, with Lynk’s world-class encryption software, user funds will be secure in the digital wallet,” he said.
Lynk has absorbed all associated bank fees, making it completely free for wallet holders.
“Together, we are working for a digital future for all, by increasing digital literacy and providing access to financial solutions. We have taken the lead as a leader in the space, and this is just the beginning,” Mr. James said.
For his part, the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. Hon. Nigel Clarke, said the new Lynk feature should play a vital role in Jamaica’s transition to a fully digital society.
“The only way we are going to be able to include the hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans who are part of this economy is to have technology that allows us to skip some of the difficulties that society has with traditional methods,” he said. underline.
Dr Clarke said that with the launch, efforts now need to be channeled into ensuring adequate physical infrastructure is in place to promote the ease of doing business.
“As we push Lynk and CBDC, especially the functionality to cash out and cash out with ATMs, we need to make sure that [there are] ATMs everywhere. We can have the conversation, and there are ways the government can play a role. But the idea is that we make financial services available throughout the length and breadth of Jamaica,” he said.
The Minister further noted that having more digital services will increase productivity.
“It means we can do more things with the same time. Rather than queuing to pick up your money or deposit your money, you simply access it on your phone or through another channel. Thus, due to the productivity gains of [going] digital, it becomes less costly operationally,” he said.
Full implementation of the CBDC should significantly reduce the traditional challenges associated with the fact that many Jamaicans do not have bank accounts.