Businesses, from fish vendors to multinational corporations were today presented with a contactless online payment system as a strategy for coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.
WiPay is being touted as a form of e-commerce and cashless transactions that bypass traditional bank-centred merchant payment systems in a bid to embrace the ‘unbanked’.
WiPay’s ‘Top-Up’ culture model for inclusion follows the phone card top-ups, a familiar and widely accessible ‘cash in’ method that does not require an individual to have a bank account.
At a time when social distancing is required and businesses begin to embrace contactless payments via the internet, WiPay was promoted as bolstering the development of e-commerce and the transition from cash to electronic payments.
WiPay’s creators also marketed the payment system as being designed for both ‘banked’ and ‘unbanked’ individuals as well as businesses keen on extending their reach and enhancing their customer interactions.
“So whether you own a multi-national corporation, or you sell fish at Oistins, you now have a solution that you could easily be part of. You don’t need to have five years financials to get a point of sale device, WiPay Chief Executive Officer Aldwyn Wayne declared at a virtual launch.
“WiPay is a solution to allow anyone to start receiving payments. We started three years ago, adoption has been great in Trinidad and we have expanded into Jamaica, Guyana and St Lucia and now Barbados is what we are launching today.”
Wayne said WiPay Barbados’ new online payment gateway offers a solution for businesses who want to sell their products and services online. Starting the process to enabling enterprises to accept both credit cards and cash online is free, he said.
He said: “COVID-19 has presented a prudent reminder for organizations which have placed too great a focus on daily brick and mortar operational needs at the expense of investing in digital business and long-term resilience.
“Businesses that can maneuver and leverage technological resources and investment to digital platforms will reduce the impact of the pandemic and enable their companies to run smoothly now, and in the long term “
Wayne declared that it was time for the Caribbean to be on par with the rest of the world in e-commerce.
He said while consumers in the United States, Europe and many other parts of the world are enjoying the convenience of e-commerce, e-payments and an overall e-world, many countries are still operating primarily with hard cash.
The CEO said the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in large organizations, including airlines that need to get payments utilizing WiPay. Government agencies and non-governmental organizations have also used WiPay to distribute stimulus monies and grants to vulnerable people, he added.
WiPay is hoping to cash in on internet access at roughly 80 per cent of Barbadians and mobile penetration at approximately 116 per cent and rising.
Governments have also increased their focus on building an ecosystem for economic growth through digital payments with a Public Sector Modernization Programme, backed by a loan of $80 million (US$40 million) from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
With increasing access to the internet, the demand for online purchasing is growing and more and more businesses are moving to e-store from brick and mortar stores in order to reach a wider market, Wayne noted.
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