Unbanked Barbadians will gain the opportunity to make transactions when a new national payment system is launched, Economic Affairs Minister Marsha Caddle has declared.
She said the thousands of people who don’t have bank or credit union accounts would not be left behind when the new digital system is rolled out.
In seeking to clarify remarks reported in Barbados TODAY, she stressed that the draft digital payments legislation introduced in Parliament on Tuesday would indeed embrace unbanked people.
Speaking during debate on the National Payment System Bill, she said: “There are so many things that are required for it to take effect and this issue of financial literacy is one of them. One of the things that we discovered that we’ve known for some time is this issue of people who are unbanked or under-banked. So we are busy creating a system of technological capabilities and there are people who don’t have a bank account, people who don’t have a credit union account…
“So here is the issue. While we might say, ‘leave them alone they are good with their cash’, but they aren’t good because they don’t have the wherewithal to have any kind of financial footprint. It puts them in a difficult position when they have to establish a credit history, when they have to face a financial institution to try to get some kind of loan or just to interact with the world in terms of financial transactions, so the issue of being unbanked is one that we have to address.”
But Caddle said that once the new system is eventually rolled out even people who do not hold bank accounts would still be able to take advantage.
She explained: “But here is the issue; many of those people would prefer not to present themselves to a commercial bank or even to a credit union because of anti-money laundering and other reasons.
“And for so many people who do operate in the margins, who don’t have a light bill and a water bill and a broadband bill and all of the different pieces of documentation it is important for us to help create a system that goes beyond a commercial bank, that says to those people there is a space for you that as you build up a financial footprint as people get more comfortable with new technology and so on, there is a way that they can participate in markets.” (RB)