WIPAY is helping TT catch up in the digital revolution. The Caribbean-based online system hosts both a website and app which facilitate payments for online purchases using credit cards, and also creates online purchasing power for those who only have access to cash.
At its launch on Wednesday at IMAX in Port of Spain, the WiPay team said it would open the market of online shopping and transfer of funds to everybody who has access to the internet, even if they may not have access to credit card or even a bank account.
Business development manager Aldwyn Wayne said although in TT the main processors for online purchases are the banks, WiPay developed a system that processes much faster, which also eliminates long bank lines.
“We build a platform that allows anyone, from the doubles vendor to Massy Stores to download a plug-in for free which facilitates online purchasing.”
Wayne says this will make a difference for many, since because of Caribbean culture, only 20 per cent of the population of TT uses credit cards, as is the case in the rest of the region. In countries such as Jamaica, markets are driven by 90 per cent cash purchases; the figure is 95 per cent in Guyana.
The use of technology will allow cash payments online.
“You go to a Lotto booth or top-up store, hand them cash and you get a chit with about 14 numbers on it. You then go online to make the purchase and provide the number at the checkout by selecting WiPay, after which you enter the 14 digits and the payment is complete.” He said this makes a difference for the region, as it is an online shopping mechanism which does not cater only to five to 25 per cent of populations in the Caribbean, and the user experience remains the same.
The ease and effectiveness of WiPay was displayed through a practical story Wayne told about a honey vendor from Moruga who uses the platform to collect and track payments from his clients in Diego Martin, which accounts for most of his customers.
Chief operations officer Sacha Thompson refers to WiPay as “technological innovation that is game-changing.” She said this use of technology has the power to transform how things are done, which will also transform lives, changing the way people connect and do business, as well as the economy.
Thompson gave a personal experience of how she was able to transfer funds for a project using the WiPay app within a matter of minutes using her smartphone.
CEO of Amcham TT Nirad Tewarie said, “We need to fundamentally shift the way we think about ideas. Someone has an idea. It could be transformative. It could change the way we do business. So why not try to make that idea a reality? We need to become a ‘why not’ society.”
He said such a mindset must be supported by co-ordinated policy measures that enable the “why not” entrepreneurs to access what they need to effect change. We pay is available throughout the Caribbean, being available now in Jamaica, Guyana and will soon be launched in St Lucia.