“Paul came to my house yesterday to give me a haircut prior to this presentation. When he was finished, I realised that I didn’t have the cash to pay… Paul is here today, and I am going to log into my Lynk account to pay Paul the $500 I owe him. Done!” Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Nigel Clarke exclaimed, while conducting the first public digital currency transaction during the Budget Debate on March 8, 2022.
Jamaica’s Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) is called JAM-DEX (Jamaica Digital Exchange). This new currency is the digitised form of the Jamaican dollar and is managed and distributed by the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ). The digital dollar has the same value as the Jamaican dollar, 1:1 and facilitates local transactions. Digital currency allows for cash to be stored in a mobile wallet. Wi-Fi connection is not needed to conduct transactions, just a smart phone and the app created by individual financial groups, Lynk is currently available.
- Financial inclusion – around 17% of Jamaicans do not have bank accounts, which limits the safety and convenience of transactions. A digital wallet will provide an easier-to-access means of efficient and secured payments from one’s phone, for persons who would otherwise have to walk around with large sums of cash.
- Affordable – transactions can be done without fees.
- Safe and convenient – the digital wallet is password protected, in addition to personal device protection.
- Incentive – the first 100,000 Jamaicans to open digital wallets after April 1, will receive a $2,500 deposit from the Government, as announced by the Minister of Finance.
How can you get it?
BOJ has partnered with deposit-taking institutions such as banks, building societies and remittance companies to allow persons to open their digital wallets. To do so, individuals can visit their nearest location and request that a wallet be attached to their existing bank account or provide simple information such as name, address and date of birth, to open the wallet independently.
Once a wallet is opened, individuals can add money. Methods of top up include:
- Providing cash to an approved institution, either in-branch or at smart ATMs, which will be added to your wallet
- Transferring funds from your bank account to your wallet
- Transferring from another wallet
How do you spend it?
To make payments, scan the QR code or enter the wallet ID of the person with whom you wish to do business, then enter the amount you want to send. Transactions are currently done from phone to phone, but there are plans to make it possible through merchant apps and point-of-sale machines.
Digital wallets are supported by a rigid infrastructure that prevents counterfeiting, hacking and information leakage. In 2021, 2.9 million transactions, valued at over J$21 trillion occurred, none of which was ever compromised.
For additional information, contact:
Ministry of Finance and the Public Service
30 National Heroes Circle
Facebook & Twitter: @mofjamaica