Quisk sets sight on Caribbean
Following the recent discontinuation of its services by NCB, mobile money wallet Quisk, owned by Advance Integrated Services (AIS), said it is now on the hunt for new partners as it looks to take the service to other countries across the Caribbean.
“We are now trying to sell it in other countries as we also try to relaunch it as a gift card package in Jamaica – a gift card that can be used just like mobile money. We are putting a strategy together and we already have some interest, but those we will not disclose right now,” said Doug Halsall, CEO of AIS, during an interview with the Jamaica Observer this week.
“We have a full licence for the software in the Caribbean so we will be marketing it in the different countries and we will be doing so along with our Q-mall e-commerce platform. We are now in a fortune position where our other platforms in health, such as the hospital and claims adjudication systems, are now high in demand in the Caribbean so this will help to give us some leverage,” he told the Caribbean Business Report.
The Quisk wallet which, was one of the first to allow customers to pay for goods and services and to send money using mobile devices, was launched in 2017 as a multi-bank platform which sought to onboard financial institutions across the island. However, after first inking an agreement with the National Commercial Bank (NCB), the platform, which later became fully integrated with that brand and servicing a network of over 400 merchants, has spent the last few years in the market as a key product of the bank until the institution in later years moved to develop its own digital wallet, Lynk, which emerged as a first responder in offering the central bank digital currency rolled out by the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ). Lynk which has significantly grown in the market, having onboarded more than 10 times more merchant than Quisk, the bank said was not conceptualised as a replacement.
In August NCB, in an announcement to discontinue the Quisk service at the end of September 2023, said its decision comes ahead of the expiration of a current contract and at a time when the bank scales operations for greater efficiency.
The AIS boss, in noting that while his business has been impacted by the loss of its largest clients for mobile money services, said that the platform has since then been actively looking for new partnerships.
“One of the things we are also now seeking is appropriate partners including software houses, business people and other entities that can provide us with first level support. This is a very competitive area and most soft services that has to do with money being stored requires a banking partner. We are currently looking for such partners, including those outside of the country as our licence allows us to operate across the Caribbean,” Halsall said.
“In addition to that, what we are also doing is to also make the necessary engineering to have the platform capable of dealing with Jam-dex,” he continued.
Jam-dex, which has not seen much take-up since its phased roll-out by the BOJ last year, was introduced to facilitate greater financial inclusion for mainly the unbanked and under-banked population while supporting the country’s transformation to a digital economy.
An optimistic Halsall, in further speaking to the outlook for the digital service platform, said that his company, as it looks to adapt and add new services to the platform ie the gift card offering, will be redoubling its focus in current and new areas, as it looks to welcome an even more dynamic set of merchants.
“Our latest segment will operate similar to the mobile money service, having all the features and can be used for anything including betting and gaming and online shopping. We will be targeting all the people that use terminals particularly the betting industry, especially now when we move to make the society cashless and as we gear up our resources to push the service throughout the Caribbean,” the CEO said.