Since the national rollout of Sand Dollar last October, nine authorized financial institutions have completed the interoperability process, allowing them to communicate and exchange funds among the various platforms. CBOB Governor John Rolle said the focus now is linking those mobile wallet platforms with commercial banking systems before the push this summer to get more Bahamians using the digital currency.
“We’ve had very good progress. What has been happening up to this point is you’ve seen largely a lot of work on the technology platforms of the various financial institutions. Our financial institutions today, the payment providers, quite a number of them have already put their mobile wallets out which are connected to the Sand Dollar platform. We know that among the payment providers they are now able to communicate with each other and send funds across the platform. There is a focus now on enrolling individuals on those various platforms. So we are literally at the cusp of beginning that push for national adoption and that is a focus that is going to gain attention and momentum as we move over the summer months,” he said during the Central Bank’s recent quarterly press briefing.
“A very important part of the completion of the ecosystem has been the work to integrate the communication link between mobile wallets and bank accounts. The reason for that is the convenience factor of having individuals see a mobile wallet like an ATM machine, in the sense that drawing funds and having it directly available in digital form, the connectivity that we are doing with the banking system through the automated clearing house (ACH), that is work that is literally concluding now and that provides the other important part to the infrastructure that will give us the momentum to push for national adoption.
“In addition, the government has been doing a lot to prepare itself and its system and that will line up with the push we will be doing over the summer months.”
The push for a digital currency comes as a result of a decades long-trend of commercial banks closing their brick and mortar locations in far-flung communities in The Bahamas.
It is also expected to foster greater financial inclusivity for unbanked members of the population and provide solutions for the transfer of money in the event of natural disasters like hurricanes.