NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Now is the time to transform the payments industry from an ancient one to a digital one, according to a senior accountant and certified fraud examiner.

Kendrick Christie, A F A Consultants president and managing partner of K Christie and Co, told Eyewitness News he believes 2021 is the year for a shift towards digital wallet payments as a major payment source In The Bahamas, as well as cryptocurrency.

Kendrick Christie.

According to Christie, The Bahamas is sorely underrepresented when it comes to digital forms of payment.

“The long lines at banks for cash deposits and cheque cashing is proof of this,” said Christie.

“We need a push towards digital wallet payments. Providers such as Kanoo, Sun Transfer and Island Pay are more than capable of handling the load for digital payments.”

Christie continued: “Unfortunately, some Bahamian-based banks are speeding up their exit strategies from friendly neighborhood banking, eliminating Saturday banking, insisting on magnetic strip cards on their debit cards when chip and pin is a more secure method and reducing branches across the islands.

“Digital payment providers, electronic payments and cryptocurrency have to fill the gap.

“If you want proof of the impact of mobile payment applications, look at how ubiquitous the CashApp program is on TikTok and in the USA.

“It is a mobile payment wallet that has become a very popular method of payment, going from seven million users when it launched in 2017 to now 30 million users in the USA.”

He added: “The time is now to transform the payments sector from an ancient one to a digital one that eliminates long bank lines, expensive reconciliation time for cheques and delays in payment timing.

“These issues, if fixed, will provide the catalyst for a speedier and more reliable payments process In The Bahamas and foster some of the growth we need.”

The Central Bank of The Bahamas earlier this month projected that access to The Bahamas’ digital currency will increase during the first quarter of 2021, as financial institutions continue to integrate the Sand Dollar into their mobile wallet platforms.

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