Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, says the Government is working to implement a system called ‘mobile money’, which will allow customers to carry out monetary transactions using their mobile phones.
Speaking during the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 20, Mr. Hylton said the system is being developed, in collaboration with the Development Bank of Jamaica, and will be initially rolled out through a pilot project, following analysis by the Bank of Jamaica (BoJ).
‘Mobile Money’ is expected to allow customers to check bank account balances and make payments via their mobile phones, as well as transfer funds from person to person.
“This has the potential to reduce transaction costs for micro-finance institutions…which will lead to a reduction in interest rates to micro-borrowers, and greater stimulation of economic activities,” he stated.
Mr. Hylton informed that similar systems are popular in places such as Kenya, where they serve to increase access to financial services by persons who do not normally have a bank account.
“Mobile money is beneficial to the unbanked and under-banked segments of the population,” he said, pointing out that the direct correlation between financial exclusion and poverty is well documented.
“Access to savings accounts, insurance and other financial services improves the quality of life of the poor,” he said.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter