Endcash is the product of Republic Bank here in Trinidad and Tobago and is a digital wallet that aims to change how we send, spend, receive and manage our money.
It launched back in March 2021 and 2 full years later, it’s still relatively unknown. We are also now seeing other digital wallets coming into the marketplace with news from Paywise, TSTT and Pesh.
For a long time, we here in Trinidad and Tobago have been clamouring for solutions that rival popular peer-to-peer apps like Cashapp, Zelle and Venmo in the United States. These new digital wallet solutions are going to fill some of those gaps. Whether they do it successfully and can bring up the adoption rate remains to be seen.
What is a Digital Wallet?
A digital wallet is a software application that allows users to store and manage their digital currency, payment card, and personal information. This information can then be used to make transactions and payments online, in-app, or in-store. The digital wallet acts as an electronic version of a physical wallet, providing a secure, convenient, and easily accessible way to manage and use your financial information.
If you have never used a Digital Wallet before, here are 5 benefits and reasons why people use Digital Wallets:
- Convenience: Digital wallets allow users to store all of their payment and personal information in one secure place, eliminating the need to carry physical cards or cash. This makes it easier and faster to make purchases, pay bills, and transfer money.
- Security: Digital wallets use advanced security features, such as encryption and multi-factor authentication, to protect users’ financial information. This makes it less likely that sensitive information will be stolen or misused.
- Speed: Digital wallets allow for fast, seamless transactions. With a digital wallet, there is no need to physically hand over a card, enter payment information, or sign a receipt. This saves time and makes checkout a breeze.
- Flexibility: Digital wallets can be used for a variety of purposes, including online shopping, in-app purchases, and in-store payments. This versatility allows users to manage all of their financial transactions in one place.
- Rewards and offers: Many digital wallets offer incentives and rewards for using their service, such as cashback, discounts, and special offers. This can help users save money and get the most out of their digital wallets.
How Does Endcash Work?
- Download the app or register via the web
- Add money to your wallet with a Visa or MasterCard
- Send, Spend, Receive or Manage Money
- Network with users
- Find nearby businesses that use Endcash
Endcash does a good job on its website making clear what is free to do on the app and what will incur a charge.
Here is what you can do for Free:
- Opening your Endcash Account
- Monthly Service
- Sending Money
- Receiving Money
- Paying for goods and services in-store, online or remotely
- Real-time alerts (Uses data from your device)
- 24/7 Customer Support (Normal airtime rules apply)
Here are the transactions that will incur a charge:
- Loading Your Wallet – $3.50ttd
- Transfer Endcash funds to your bank account/branch – $10ttd
- Cash Out to Manager’s Cheque: $30 ($10 cash out fee + $20 Manager’s Cheque fee)
Daily Transaction Limits:
- Transfers between users: maximum TT $1,000 per transfer
- The maximum value of transfers per day: TT $3,000
- Payment to Merchants: maximum TT $10,000 per day
- Load your Wallet: maximum value per load TT $1,000; maximum value per month TT $10,000
- Wallet to Wallet Transfers – Instantly
- Wallet Loads – Instantly
- Wallet to Bank Account Transfers – within One Business Day
- Manager Cheque/ Cash Withdrawal – Within 7 Business days from Cash out request
When Republic Bank first released the app 2 years ago, I remember downloading the application and never making it past the point of registering an account because the app kept on crashing or freezing. After a few tries, I gave up and uninstalled the application.
It wasn’t until Dec 2022 when Republic Bank started to make a heavy advertising push that I decided to try again and then it hit me that I hadn’t heard about the app from anybody ever since it launched in March 2021 which gave me a bit of pause. If the app had improved since then, I’m positive I would have been hearing about or at least asked about it between March 2021 and December 2022.
I was in Eddie Hart grounds by the Food Truck when I saw a few reps educating vendors on using the services and helping them get set up. It was a perfect opportunity for me to try it out because if you have been to the food truck zone, you would know that 99% of the vendors there do not have a point of sale terminal and you need to walk with cash to pay for your food.
I registered on the spot, created the account, added my debit card and then went through the process of loading money from my bank account to the digital wallet.
The 1st thing that came to mind was that this isn’t how Cashapp, Venmo or Zelle work. With those apps, once you add your debit/credit card to the app, once you make a purchase, your debit/credit card is debited and the money will transfer to that person/business digital wallet.
You don’t have to go through the process of adding money to the wallet first and then proceeding to make a purchase or send money to your friends/family. Instantly, I knew that this would be a big drawback in most situations.
I found a vendor who was using Endcash that evening, scanned their QR code and sent the payment over to them. It was quick and easy enough.
I’ve also tried their Nearby feature which will showcase businesses accepting Endcash and no matter where I go, it never seems to work and always comes back as “No Business found”.
I’ve been using the application for 3 months now and the question I keep coming back to is “Does this improve” what I am already doing? The answer for me is No.
For the most part, Endcash has added additional steps to a process that were already pretty simple.
- Loading the Wallet with your money will cost $3.50ttd to put money into the account. If the business already has a point-of-sale terminal, a Tap To Pay p.o.s or a QR Code payment link from (Wipay, Fygaro, Paypal, etc), I can easily use my debit/credit card to make a payment to the business without having to first load my wallet to then make that payment. This additional step puts more friction in the buying process which has always had me opting to pay with my debit card when presented with both as the option.
2. The banks charge $1 to send money via online bank transfer, so loading money into your wallet first will cost you more money to be able to send money to your friends and family.
3. For businesses, you will still want to get either a point of sale terminal or sign up with a service that would allow for QR Code payments like Wipay, Fygaro, Paypal, etc because Endcash only works with folks who have a Trinidad and Tobago bank account. If foreigners are coming to your establishment, they will not be able to pay you via Endcash. Since the rest of the world uses their Credit/Debit Cards mainly when travelling, you will want to have a method for them to be able to pay you.
4. The most I can pay a vendor with Endcash is $10,000ttd but I can only load $1000ttd per load. This doesn’t make much sense, I should be able to load up to the maximum I am allowed to spend. Every time I load the wallet, it costs money, so we should be able to load the full $10,000ttd all at once to minimize our expenses.
5. You need to have a bank account to use the application. We know a large part of our population is Unbanked and Underbanked. If they could create an account without needing a bank account and load the app with a top-up voucher like a phonecard, then this would increase adoption amongst the unbanked. This would increase peer-to-peer transactions and even make more sense for them to use this method of paying instead of always needing cash since they don’t have a bank account.
- If you know you are going to an event where you know for sure that Endcash will be accepted, then you can leave your wallet in the car and just walk with your phone. This will allow you to move lighter and keep your wallet in a safe place.
I know I am a bit light on the Pros section but as of right now, there aren’t many situations where I think using Endcash makes sense. It just adds more steps to a process and doesn’t fix core issues.
We shouldn’t have to load money into the wallet, the app should debit our cards at point of sale or sending money to others, just like how Cashapp, Zelle and Venmo work.
This makes a lot more sense to use if every business, event or festival was using Endcash, without major adoption from businesses and not tapping into the unbanked, the app falls short.
They also have a social feed where you can network with other users. When you make a payment, you have the option of making the payment private or public and having your payment posted to your social feed for the world to see.
I find myself time and time again, when asked “Do you want to pay with your card or Endcash?”, I always choose to pay with my bank card to save the headache of going through all the steps needed to pay the business.