Business

Loaded MasterCards for Credit Unions

BY KELLARAY MILES
Business reporter
milesk@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, August 11, 2019

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The credit unions in Jamaica who are soon to be issued with their very own master debit cards are excited about some of the rewards promised. The Jamaica Co- operative Credit Union League (JCCUL) which currently has a self regulatory mechanism for co-operatives is now in the process of brokering a successful deal with Mastercard in a bid to secure more value for its members.

Credit unions which are not yet regulated by the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ), but are soon to be, are not allowed to issue credit cards; hence the move to secure this debit card deal with Mastercard to offer first world service to their members.

Robin Levy, chief executive officer at JCCUL in an interview with the Jamaica Observer provided some update as to what is happening in relation to the progress of the deal.

“We have an agreement in principle and we've actually been accepted as the primary card issuer, but we have yet to sign off on the business deal as to how we will be sharing revenues and what the costs are going to be to use the service. There are still a few little details to be worked out,” he disclosed.

The very enthused and hopeful Levy who is very happy about this prospective deal with Mastercard is also more anticipatory of the benefits to be accorded to members.

He noted that while credit unions have been offering debit card solutions to their members for more than 20 years, the objective behind signing this deal with the international payments and technology company was to make their debit card service more appealing.

“We want to make our card sexier! We want it to have more utility for our members. We want them to be able to shop online with it, travel with it, and leave their expensive credit cards at home,” he declared.

He continued by adding that the credit unions already had a good debit card product which this deal will make better locally by ringing in some new changes.

“We are going to make it that a credit union member (even without the Mastercard feature) can be able to go into any other participating credit union and get service as if it is their own credit union.”

On top of that Levy also shared that the card which will be rolled out by year end will have internet access features where members can stay at home to transfer balances, pay loans, and do bill payments.

“This will be rolled out by year end and hopefully by next year in the first quarter when Mastercard comes on, we are hoping to be one of the first to go EMV-chip. Mastercard will be giving us all our chip cards and this will have international spend”, he shared.

He urged members that with this card, they will need to travel with no other substitute cards as this card can take care of all their expenses.

“With it you can be able to spend your own money at a lower cost or if you prefer to, arrange a loan with your credit union — if they agree; so as to put a line of credit behind the card so it spends like a credit card which would still be cheaper than a bank credit card,” he said.

The JCCUL boss also indicated that so far the credit unions seem to be very much looking forward to receiving this service for their members. “Though not in hand as yet, we are actively working to make it a reality by first quarter next year.

He pointed out that though they are still in negotiation phase, he thinks that a good deal will come on stream and is anticipating the possibility of signing shortly, as the card will provide credit union members with global reach.

“Mastercard was chosen over its competitors, as they came with a better deal in terms of putting their own money behind the product, and because we have a large membership base, we were very attractive for Mastercard,” he further told the Sunday Finance.


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