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More Mobile Money Products Coming

Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS) says it is now conducting a mobile money pilot with technology provider Advanced Integrated Systems (AIS) and its American partner Quisk.

JMMB and Lasco Financial Services Limited (LFSL) are also in talks with AIS and Quisk to use their cloud platform to launch their offerings; while conglomerate GraceKennedy Limited is in the second month of its own pilot.

President and CEO of VMBS Courtney Campbell said the building society is to submit its request to the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) for approval for its mobile product.

The building society said it began testing its offering in December 2015, but was not "willing to share when the pilot ends".

Remittance and foreign exchange trader Lasco Financial Services said its mobile money plans are in the "preliminary stages".

"It's not at the stage that we can speak about it yet because our application is not even approved yet. We are making our application now," said LFSL Managing Director, Jacinth Hall-Tracey.

And electronic services manager at JMMB, Teverly Gray, said the company was "at the initial stage of exploring mobile money solutions with varying stakeholders", and could not divulge details now.

Gray said JMMB is expected to engage AIS in preliminary discussions as one prospective provider, "even as the company continues to explore the possible implementation of mobile money platform".

National Commercial Bank Jamaica is currently awaiting approvals from the regulator to launch its products under similar arrangements with technology duo AIS and 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.

However, GraceKennedy boss Don Wehby has signalled the launch of its product this year. Wehby told the Financial Gleaner the results of the pilot "have been very positive," but did not give a clear date for launch.

"GraceKennedy's approach to the mobile money offering has been to spend the time to ensure that we deliver to the market a product that anticipates and meets the needs of our customers," he said.

As part of its pilot, over 200 members of GK's staff "at varying demographic profiles" are now performing cash-in and cash-out transactions at agent locations "within the parameters of the BOJ guidelines," person-to-person transfers, real-time top-up for FLOW and Digicel and bill payments, Wehby said.

Digicel says its plans for a mobile money product remains on track, but did not state whether it had applied for approval from the Bank of Jamaica.

The telecoms previously disclosed that it was partnering with Sagicor Bank Jamaica on its product, and that the application to BOJ would be made by the bank. Digicel already offers a mobile wallet in Haiti, called Mon Cash, in partnership with Scotiabank Haiti.

Last December, BOJ confirmed that it had approved five mobile money pilots, including mobile wallets, but declined to name the entities involved, saying it would be a breach of confidentiality.

-Jamaica Gleaner