Saturday 8 August, 2020

BOJ solicits interest for new national payments switch

Bank of Jamaica via iStock

Bank of Jamaica via iStock

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has invited expressions of interest (EOI) from companies that are interested in providing a new national payments switch.

Stating that it is not yet ready for a request for proposal, the bank outlined that it is now looking to assess the ability of companies to deliver the mechanism.

Deadline for response is February 28.

“This s EOI is solely for information and planning purposes”, the bank said in its notice posted on its website.

The new, shared national payment platform for which the BOJ is inviting expressions of interest will facilitate interoperability for all retail payments.

“The expectation is that easy, secure, and convenient countrywide access will be the outcome for all users irrespective of payment service provider, payment or telecom network,” BOJ said.

The switch will provide a common payments platform for access to ATM, POS, mobile payments, internet-based commerce portals and any other innovation as the consumer needs evolve, it added.

It will also consolidate all electronic transactions and channel these transactions to one or more payment processors for authorisation and settlement.

All activities on the platform will be consolidated to allow for easy monitoring, oversight and management, the BOJ outlined.

Based on the responses to the EOI, the BOJ will identify the organisation or companies to work on the design and implementation of a secure, reliable, interoperable platform for a national payment switch.

In 2017, the Government of Jamaica launched the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS), which seeks to increase the portion of the adult population using digital payments.

The BOJ said it is committed to the NFIS, which promotes financial access for all and is keen to improve the financial markets.

It is out of this commitment that it has developed a plan for the implementation of the reforms. Key to the plan is the single switch mechanism that will allow all systems to speak to each other.

Currently, the existing infrastructure facilitates switching of payments at automated teller machines (ATMs) and point of sale machines (POS) for all domestic card payments for deposit-taking institutions (DTIs), i.e. commercial banks, merchant banks and building societies and authorised payment service providers.

Card transactions denominated in foreign currency are switched out of the country.

The objective of the new EOI is to acquire information on the interest and capabilities of organisations that have the capacity to provide the relevant services for the implementation of a national payment switch.

Services will include consultancy to support the design of the national payment switch through to procurement of the agreed solution, project management support and appropriate stakeholder engagement, training and implementation of the agreed system.

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