There is no question that the future of payments is here. Acknowledging the speed of technological advancements in today’s world, Barbados will need to ramp up its efforts to get in the game, and fast. Global studies on innovation argue that consumers are ready for the digital disruption and to adopt more convenient and secure methods of payment. As cash and the traditional Point of Sale continue to become less relevant across the globe, Contactless Payments and Mobile Payments supported by QR Codes have taken off considerably in counties such as China and Singapore where there is a clear focus, led by the Government, to transition to a cashless society.
The large Card Associations (Visa and MasterCard), along with other untraditional players have intensified their efforts to partner with emerging FinTech companies to explore and pilot new digital solutions that support the move to a cashless and inclusive global society. My firsthand experience came recently while at a Visa Payments Forum for its Caribbean and LAC Members where all participants were able to purchase branded items using their assigned name badges designed with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.
With the current level of rapid change, the most successful businesses to survive this digital disruption era will be those that are able to integrate new digital strategies into their operations, while focusing on adding value to their customers. Accepting digital payments can also help small business owners to protect and grow their businesses, which depend heavily on cash flow to survive. Too often, business owners are forced to wait two or more banking days for payments to be cleared through traditional banking methods; digital payment solutions can provide almost immediate access to funds. A study commissioned recently by Visa Inc. suggests that shifting from cash to digital payments can shrink the informal economy. The report further suggests that increasing digital payments by 10% each year for five consecutive years can lift global GDP by an estimated US$1.5 trillion by the year 2021.
The small business journey is not easy; however, small business owners across Barbados have a real opportunity to change the way we do business as a country. This sector has the advantage of remaining agile and creating efficiency within their businesses by exploring and quickly integrating new technologies that are digitally savvy.
The Cave Shepherd Card Team is pleased to help pave the way for digital transformation across the Barbados payments industry. Our vision of being a leading player in the cards and digital payment industry has been a driving force in the company’s focus on delivering innovative products and services to the market. The new Cave Shepherd Card Mobile App was specially designed to offer the MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) segment an alternate, digitally oriented payments service. Under the Cave Shepherd Card Mobile App, registered Mobile Partners will have the option to collect real-time customer payments using a Person to Person Transfer feature or request a Mobile Partner Account where an established QR Code is presented to customers wishing to make payments with their mobile phones. This new service has been completely digitized and offers merchant activity reporting, coupled with In-App Transfer features, which allows Mobile Partners to move funds securely to their designated bank account.
We can all agree that digital payments will drive the future of commerce globally. Locally, there are a few other players working to expand the digital landscape. Meanwhile, the Government of Barbados has shared its vision and plans to support the digital transformation journey at the recently concluded BIMTECH Forum. It is important to note that digital transformation is not solely tied to integration of new technologies; moreso, businesses must also be willing to invest in future-proofing their people with the skills and tools necessary to deliver in this digital age if the country is to continue to evolve in the digital space.