Mastercard outlines digital transformation strategy for Jamaica

Mastercard outlines digital transformation strategy for Jamaica

Observer writer

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

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Mastercard's country manager for Jamaica Dalton Fowles announced his company's vision for the local market at a news conference at the AC Hotel yesterday.

“The opening of the Jamaica office is a pivotal demonstration of Mastercard's commitment to the country and the region,” stated Fowles. “I am excited at the opportunity to aid our partners, Government, and regulators achieve financial and digital inclusion on the island.”

The new Jamaica office — which has been informally opened since September 1, 2019 — is an integral part of Mastercard's regional expansion strategy in the Caribbean, with other offices in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Fowles is also country manager for Trinidad and Tobago, which does not currently have a local office.

The company sees great opportunity locally, but more importantly, hopes to lead the move in digital inclusion.

Fowles identified Jamaica as a leader in digital adoption in the Caribbean, which makes it an ideal place from which to build.

“Why is Mastercard here?” he asked. Looking into the Caribbean we saw an opportunity for significant transformation in payments. In Jamaica, in particular, personal consumption expenditure — which is essentially the use of cards for personal expenditure — is under 20 per cent.”

In most advanced markets this number is significantly higher — as high as 80 per cent in some European countries, 50 per cent in North America, 40 per cent in Brazil, and in the high 30s in Chile. Venezuela, with its hyperinflation, is an exceptional case, with digital payments as high as 90 per cent.

“In addition, Mastercard as an innovation company in payments — beyond the personal consumption expenditure we see an opportunity in the digital space,” Fowles said. “In fact, we believe we are at a significant inflection point in digital throughout the region, but especially in Jamaica.” He noted Jamaica's ubiquitous mobile usage and growing e-commerce segment.

A safer, more appealing online payment experience for everyone through technology is also a priority. That includes citizens, governments and companies.

“Innovation, safety and security are pillars in our ecosystem. We are introducing new, multilayered technological advancements to personalise the customer experience, foster stronger relationships with local businesses, and increase financial inclusion,” stated Fowles.

“Our underlying objective is to expand payment acceptance through a more efficient payment infrastructure and reduce the reliance on cash, which generates direct and indirect costs to the economy,” he said.

Mastercard plans to offer a variety of solutions to various segments, and has already started by collaborating with select restaurants to offer cash-back discounts to cardholders who purchase from these restaurants.

Marcelo Tangioni, president of the Caribbean Division, emphasised that though accomplishing key performance indicators (KPIs) is an important part of their business, Mastercard believes in “doing well by doing good”, and so success should not be at the expense of the country or its citizens.

Mastercard is a technology company in the global payments industry with a processing network connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments, and businesses across more than 210 countries and territories.

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