Sun Cash is helping to lead the digital growth of personal finance into the unbanked islands of The Bahamas with a rollout of new systems over the next eight weeks, said Shawn Smith, the company’s head of business development.
Smith, who spoke to The Nassau Guardian following the rollout of The Central Bank of The Bahamas’ (CBOB) Sand Dollar digital currency on Abaco, said the things that Sun Cash have been doing throughout The Bahamas has paved the way for the country’s digital dollars.
Smith and his team are helping to ease the burden of cash on islands of The Bahamas with no banking presence.
The company is introducing kiosks that will allow customers to load up their digital wallets so that they will able to carry out transactions electronically without the worry of carrying around huge amounts of cash.
“A community like Green Turtle Cay that’s wanting to be less cash intensive, they want to have digital, we can put a kiosk like that in the grocery store,” said Smith.
“There persons can load cash. There they can come with their credit card, they can use their credit card to load in there, so it becomes a loading point.
“We’re also going to have kiosks that have monies that you can take out, so a tourist visiting The Bahamas may want to get Sand Dollars. They can go with their credit card or with their cash, put it in the machine, get Sand Dollars and when they’re leaving the country, they can essentially do the reverse and they’re gonna get back either the credit to their card or the cash back.”
Smith explained that the company intends to have a kiosk in Marsh Harbour, Abaco and and one in Exuma by the end of this week.
He said in six to eight weeks, Sun Cash hopes to have them on most of the key islands of The Bahamas.
Exuma and Abaco are the only islands where CBOB’s Sand Dollar project is being piloted, but it is the government’s intention to have the digital currency in operation across the country.
Until then, other locations will be able to use Sun Cash’s digital wallets through the kiosks in order to carry out transactions.
“What Sun Cash has been doing is paving the way for the Central Bank Sand Dollar and NZIA (Sand Dollar platform developer),” said Smith.
“We find that on the Family Islands, their needs basis and their use basis is much greater than in developed New Providence and Grand Bahama, because the Family Islands don’t have banks there, so we find that they’re using it a lot more.”
Smith expects that as family islanders use digital wallets more frequently and begin to transfer money more, people on New Providence and Grand Bahama will get into using the system.
For some time now, Sun Cash has allowed its customers to put money into a digital wallet and spend it at participating locations, or use it to pay bills, from an app on their phone.
Soon, Smith said, customers will be able to send money through Western Union directly from their apps after first carrying out a one-time KYC (know your customer) transaction at a physical branch.
“The kiosk will allow you to load your app, once your app is loaded you will then be able to onboard the Western Union transaction and be able to pay right from your app,” he said.
He added that Sun Cash has also built a payroll service that will be offered within the next four weeks.
“Individuals who own businesses will be able to pay their people where Sand Dollars are available.. and where it’s not it will be Sun Cash,” said Smith.
“Once they pay their employees with that, their employees now can partake in the ecosystem that Sun Cash now has.”
“The goal is to try to push as many people towards the ecosystem. Where there is no Sand Dollar available, we will push them to Sun Cash. When Sand Dollar becomes available, we will then push them from Sun Cash to Sand Dollar.”
Smith said the digital systems will save Bahamians time and will provide a level of security.