J’cans urged to go cashless

March 23, 2023

In light of the recent attacks at automated banking machines, conversations about Jamaica moving towards being a cashless society have become prominent again.

A cashless society refers to one that primarily uses digital means to make financial transactions, thus eliminating the need to carry around physical cash. According to personal finance content creator Demetress Fairman, the switch can be as simple as getting a credit card.

"In America, you could use the Apple Pay on your phone or you could use CashApp or a lot of different methods, but right now in Jamaica it's mostly credit cards and Lynk," he explained.

Lynk is a digital platform that allows users to make transactions using their phones without a bank account.

Urging the public to 'go cashless', Fairman told THE STAR, "It's more convenient because most of the times you go to the ATM and use your debit card, you get charged to withdraw cash, plus you get charged to spend cash, and then you get charged on spending the cash also." He noted that the biggest drawback for credit cards is some persons' inability to manage their debt.

"It's not free cash [but] it's very useful. It could even be getting free money from the bank if you pay it back on time, 'cause you're not paying any interest but you get bonuses. So for me I have a reward that I get back on my credit card. I can get up to $20,000 in rewards at the end of the year and that's like the credit card paying back for itself, plus a little cash in pocket. So it's like spending free money, if you pay back balance on time and in full."

He added that while consumers are adopting mechanisms to make physical money obsolete, merchants also play a vital role.

"It doesn't hurt [customers] to check with their local bank and ask them. I think they have the merchant machines now where you don't have to walk with the big point of sale [machine], you can walk with the smaller ones. They have some that can connect to your phone, all you need is a data plan. I can guarantee you that a lot of people would love to spend with some people, especially on the roadside, but because we don't have cash and they don't have the machine, we tend to just go into a supermarket that supports the machine."

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