Information technology company Advanced Integrated Systems (AIS) says its mobile money platform should go live in the next three months.
National Commercial Bank Jamaica is expected to be the first to roll out products and services through the platform, says Doug Halsall, chairman and CEO of AIS, but adds that they have three other financial service providers lined up as clients.
Halsall named LASCO Financial Services and VMBS as being on board, and that arrangements with JMMB were being finalised this week. It's still an open question whether NCB's mobile money products will launch at the same time that the AIS platform is commissioned as the bank is awaiting approval from the Bank of Jamaica, regulator of the mobile money market.
Dubbed Mobile Money 2.0, AIS's platform is being offered in partnership with Silicon Valley-based tech company Quisk. Currently, only the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League's mobile wallet Conec, which allows maximum transfers of $150,000 daily, exists in the nascent mobile money market. Conec is offered in partnership with technology provider Mozido Jamaica. Its services include mobile credit top-up, bill payments, transfers between credit union accounts and the mobile wallet, remittances to other Conec mobile wallet subscribers, and deposits and withdrawals from the mobile wallet.
AIS represents Quisk in 21 countries in the Caribbean "and we jointly run the platform with them," Halsall said. AIS itself has, so far, invested in excess of US$4 million to secure the partnership and rights from Quisk, he told the Financial Gleaner. Mobile Money 2.0 will allow NCB-Quisk customers to use their "phone numbers as their PIN numbers" to transact business with agents islandwide, said the AIS chairman.
Aim to digitise cash
"Our mission is not just to cater to the unbanked but to digitise cash, so you don't need it at all," he said. Mobile Money 2.0 will allow "virtual ticketing meters, whether it be for bus fares events like 'Jazz Fest' [Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival] or the theatre, remittance and mobile betting," he added. The platform is also applicable to mobile betting and e-commerce, and AIS is now attempting to market it to gaming companies.
NCB's chief digital and marketing officer, Nadeen Matthews, would not commit to a roll-out date for the bank's mobile money services, saying they are still awaiting sign-off by the Bank of Jamaica. "What I can tell you is that we are ready, so that once we have regulatory approval, we go to market," Matthews said. Outside of its technological offerings, AIS processes health insurance claims for Government and private-sector insurance companies, handling some 133,000 claims daily, Halsall said. "We wanted to leverage our cloud for more transition processing so, six years ago, we signed on with Quisk," he said.