SOURCE: CNC3 – The Housing Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (HDC) has become the first officially recognised government corporation to provide customers with cashless payment options for both the banked and unbanked, under an initiative instituted by the Trinidad & Tobago International Financial Centre (TTIFC).
A release from the TTIFC, describes the development as “a very important milestone”. “This is a very important milestone for the TTIFC as we seek to push cashless payments to all of the government,” said TTIFC CEO John Outridge, during the onboarding ceremony at HDC’s head office in Port of Spain on Monday.
The TTIFC is the organisation in charge of promoting the use of digital payments throughout the government, implementing the Finance Ministry’s “cashless” public sector vision.
TTIFC CEO John Outridge reported that the institution had been working closely with critical stakeholders, such as the Treasury Division of the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, the Trinidad and Tobago Cyber Security Incident Response Team, and other ministries, departments, and agencies “that are all well-advanced in their implementations, to ensure that the benefits of digital payments reach the greatest number of citizens.”
“The HDC is a good place to start in this respect, as they have a growing customer base of over 20,000 citizens who will now have the added benefit of multiple safe, secure, and convenient payment options for one of the most valuable assets that any of us can own—a place to call home,” Outridge said.
A state agency of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, the HDC will be the first to utilise government cashless payments platform to offer HDC customers a new option to manage their payments for License to Occupy and/or Rent-to-Own services through online payment channels facilitated by TSTT, as well as the country’s first e-Money Issuer (EMI)—PayWise—and other payment service providers across Trinidad and Tobago, such as SurePay.
TTIFC notes there will be more convenient options to follow in the near future. HDC’s Managing Director, Jayselle McFarlane, observed that customers will benefit the most from the new initiative.
“This partnership between the HDC and TTIFC is the perfect addition to our ‘More Ways to Pay’ initiatives,” McFarlane stated, “as the HDC continues to fulfil our mandate of providing affordable housing and exploring new opportunities to provide our customers with the right mix of services and tools to help them to protect and maintain their homeownership status.”
She added that the HDC also will collaborate closely with TTIFC to raise awareness of the benefits of digital payment solutions among residents and renters in different HDC communities, and to encourage them to adopt these solutions to make on-time rent or mortgage payments.
Vice President of Financial Services Transformation at TTIFC, Dawn Nelson, points out that citizens will benefit greatly as the integration of electronic funds transfer (EFT) payments and other digital payment methods across the public sector continues.
“The Licensing Division of the Ministry of Works and Transport, the Immigration Division, the Judiciary, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry are some of the government ministries, departments, and agencies with which we have been strategically and closely collaborating,” Nelson revealed.
“These organisations deliver some of the most critical services and are responsible for processing the largest volumes of payments. These are just a few of the government agencies with whom we are currently working, which will soon be part of the cashless platform and provide safety, security, and convenience to the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago when doing business online with the state,” she added.