Alliance Financial Services (AFSL) says it is introducing a multifunctional prepaid card that can be used to receive remittances as well as for shopping, like any MasterCard product.
“Customers can receive remittances directly to the card without ever visiting the shops and earn rewards while doing so,” the company, a long-standing primary agent for MoneyGram in Jamaica and a principal member of MasterCard, said in a news release.
Describing the “direct-to-card” benefit as a game-changer, AFSL said the service is a first for Jamaica and features a convenient application which allows customers the peace of mind of receiving funds virtually, during this COVID-19 period, where leaving home comes at great risk to health and public safety.
“We know very well the economic hardship that many of our customers face, which only intensified this March when we were all caught off guard by COVID-19,” AFSL said.
According to Alliance Investment Management Deputy Chairman and Vice-President Robert Chin, the company immediately sought ways to fast-track the use of its existing technology to work for its customers, which set a series of events in motion, leading to the acquisition of the card services portfolio of Alliance Payment Services Limited (APSL).
After receiving approval from the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) under the Electronic Retail Payment Systems Regulations in 2014, AFSL began issuing ePay prepaid cards, growing the customer base significantly and partnering with large corporations to white label prepaid cards, primarily for commercial and human resources purposes.
In 2017, AFSL became a principal member of the MasterCard network, which allowed the company to enhance its card offering by issuing prepaid ePay MasterCards that provided increased access to purchasing opportunities via MasterCard’s vast network.
In February this year, BOJ replaced the Electronic Retail Payment Services Guidelines with the Fintech Regulatory Sandbox Guidelines, which allows the company to employ even greater agility and innovation in product development and service delivery.
Over the years, there have been many attempts by institutions to create viable products to include Jamaica’s large unbanked and underbanked population in the broader financial ecosystem, the company said, adding that the Alliance ePay MasterCard successfully achieves this by creating a distinct advantage for people who are not able to participate in the formal banking sector or simply choose to add the card to their suite of payment solutions.
“Since March, we have processed over $125 million in remittance proceeds, directly to our prepaid cards, outpacing all financial projections. This, combined with the encouraging inflow reports from the BOJ, is testament to the resilience and continued importance and support of the Diaspora to our economy,” the release quotes Chin.
“AFSL will continue to do our part to innovate for the betterment of all customer categories; we already have a few major partnerships linked to the card in the pipeline, which we will announce in due time,” he added.
In addition to the direct-to-card remittance, the Alliance ePay Mastercard boasts a wide range of features, among them bill payment, purchase of talk time, person-to-person cash transfers and can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted.
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