Jamaican banknotes

AS the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) inches closer to realising the full roll-out of its central bank digital currency (CBDC) or Jam-Dex, the bank is clarifying that it is not launching a war on cash.

While speaking at the recent Jamaica Observer Business Webinar, deputy governor of banking & currency operations & financial markets at the BOJ, Natalie Haynes, and division chief for financial markets infrastructure Dr Novelette Panton both admitted that by and large, cash is still king in Jamaica.

“If you look down at Coronation Market, most persons want to use cash, how do we get those persons to buy into Jam-Dex?” Haynes pondered.

A 2020 study done by Mastercard in Jamaica found that only 42 per cent of the people in Jamaica use credit or debit cards for their purchases in stores as the favourite method of payment. The data confirm that most Jamaicans still prefer to use cash to complete transactions instead of electronic or digital means.

Nevertheless, the annual Global Payments Report by Worldpay from FIS found that “Cash payments in the US made up $1 trillion of in-store payments in 2020, down roughly 29 per cent from $1.4 trillion in 2019.”

The report also projects that by 2024, cash will account for less than 10 per cent of in-store payments in the US and only 13 per cent of payments worldwide.