NCB launches prepaid MastercardWednesday, April 21, 2021
BY DAVID ROSE
After converting its multilink Midas card to a Visa debit card, National Commercial Bank Limited (NCBJ) has now launched its own prepaid Mastercard solution which the bank says will open more opportunities for the underbanked population in Jamaica.
“The benefits of e-commerce are tremendous. However, for it to flourish locally, we need a wider pool of people who can avail themselves of the benefits. Our new NCB Prepaid Mastercard will allow more Jamaicans to participate in that space, while enjoying safer, easier, and more accessible banking options,” said Claudette Rodriquez, senior assistant general manager in NCBJ's Payment Services Division.
Once the person is above the legal age (18 years), they can apply to creditcard.jncb.com and receive their card through the mail. Apart from being valid for four years, it can be topped up at any NCBJ ABM, via online banking or bank transfer. There's no joining, monthly or minimum balance fee and the card is compatible with Cirrus ABMs while being an EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) enabled card.
“We recognise that today's consumer's appetite for e-commerce has grown immensely and more businesses are making the transition to e-commerce for safety and convenience. To ensure that as many customers are effectively equipped to participate in this increasingly digital economy, we want to make it as easy as possible for customers to get access to the cards and facilities they need,” Rodriquez said. .
NCBJ has been aggressively seeking to grow its market share of the payment services space in the last couple of years. This included upgrading all of its POS terminals to enable contactless payments, utilising Quisk as part of its mobile money reach for clients and non-clients plus e-commerce solutions through Fygaro for micro, small and medium-sized businesses. NCBJ's payment services income fell by none per cent to $9.25 billion for its 2020 financial year as the bank reduced some fees and encouraged more digital channels which further impacted this segment.
Mastercard expanding reach in Jamaica
NCBJ's latest push to include a prepaid Mastercard shows the dynamics of the evolving payment services space in Jamaica. Scotiabank Jamaica, Jamaica's second-largest commercial bank, switched over from its long-time partner Visa for Mastercard in its new line of contactless enabled EMV debit cards. While Sagicor Bank re-launched its suite of Mastercard credit cards which are EMV based and carry a new design style.
In an interview last month with the Jamaica Observer, president and CEO of Sagicor Group Jamaica Christopher Zacca said that Sagicor Bank would be switching its current multilink debit card for a new EMV-enabled debit card this year. Although the details weren't finalised, it's expected that Sagicor will lean to Mastercard which also powers the MyCash prepaid Mastercard.
“We are very pleased at the growth of the prepaid product in Jamaica. It satisfies a clear customer need to complete transactions safely in-person and online. It's easy to sign-up and manage your top-ups and we look forward to more Jamaicans taking advantage of the product. We have a strong pipeline of key initiatives in collaboration with our customers and partners including implementing digital security assets to strengthen the payments ecosystem, particularly in light of the recent e-commerce growth; launching new core products for the financially excluded; introducing innovative and cost-effective solutions for small merchants to accept digital payments. Moreover, it reinforces the commitment Mastercard has with Jamaica since we opened our local office in New Kingston, back in 2019, and hired a local team,” said Mastercard's country manager for Jamaica and Trinidad Dalton Fowles, in response to NCBJ's new prepaid Mastercard.
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