Centralized Strategic Services (CSS) aims to take electronic payment services to the unbanked people of the Eastern Caribbean.
CSS is a subsidiary of the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League (JCCUL) that provides strategic services to the credit union movement network. It is a key player in the roll out of the Jamaica Credit Union e-payment Services System (JCUES), which includes bill payment, bill enquiries and mobile phone top-ups locally.
The company's aggressive push regionally is driven by the firm's belief that there is a strong demand for electronic payment services.
"Certainly, what we have seen is that that these territories actually lack certain sophistication with respect to certain services," said Heston Hutton, managing director of CSS.
Though it's not yet known whether CSS will apply JCUES to the new markets that it is currently eyeing, the company plans to take a cashless system to the Eastern Caribbean.
"The plan is to facilitate the same mandate of financial inclusion, whether with JCUES or any other electronic payment services," Hutton told Caribbean Business Report.
CCS will leverage parent company JCCL's membership with the Caribbean Confederation of Credit Unions, comprised of 353 credit unions and over 2 million members across 17 countries.
"We will use our involvement in the confederation to help with the push in the Eastern Caribbean," Hutton said.
Those areas are being targeted because like Jamaica they have a lot of unbanked people," he said.
Locally, 34 per cent of the adult population do not own bank accounts and must use cash and or the non-bank payment outlets at relatively high cost, according to industry studies and research conducted by the University of the West Indies (UWI) through the Mona School of Business and Solutions for Society Think Tank.
Still, the country has matured with respect to financial landscape and the inclusion of electronic payment services, Hutton said.
It is the experience in Jamaica that has made the company better able to provide solutions for entities in that region, he added.
What's more, CSS plans to provide outsourcing services to firms in the region, much like what it does for the local credit unions where it drives down operational costs for the entities.
The company holds a portfolio that includes capacity building and project management, internal auditing, risk management analysis, enterprise security, process and procedure documentation, call centre services, and marketing.
With respect to its current involvement in the Caribbean, CSS has already secured a major client in Trinidad and Tobago where they are currently conducting strategic assessments and facilitating the organisation's management initiatives.
Meanwhile, CSS has been invited to the Cayman Islands to inform capacity building and improve business and technological infrastructures there.
In Latin America, CSS was an integral player in a specialist team commissioned to assess the Peruvian e-payment infrastructure towards future augmentation.
CSS has established professional partnerships in North America, partnering with US- based technology powerhouse, Mozido to launch Jamaica's only regulated mobile payment system, JCUES.