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MasterCard, The Caribbean & Signs of Things To Come?

We made it folks, we got through Christmas, New Years and now finally, Carnival. I don’t know about you but I am relieved because we can finally focus on what is going to be one of the most important years for us here in Trinidad and also the Caribbean. We are in the midst of our e-commerce revolution here in Trinidad & Tobago and it really hit me in one of the unlikeliest places, a fete.

Specifically, Kes Tuesday. While relaxing with my cousins and enjoying the energy inside the Queens Park Savannah, I decided to purchase a beverage and was a bit shocked when they asked me “how would I be paying?”. I was shocked because I didn’t know I had a choice, it has always been cash only at every single event since I moved to Trinidad a few years ago. Heck, I even ensured to take out enough money so that I didn’t run out of drinking money and have to be sober for the night.

I asked the rep what are my options and she told me that they now accept Linx and credit cards. In her hand, I saw her ready with her Wipay terminal in hand. Finally…I can’t believe I am saying this but FINALLY, it has dawned on the powers at be to get Linx & Credit Card payments inside of our Carnival events.

Walking through the crowd, I saw the Wipay deck and started scoping it out.

If you are living outside of the Caribbean, pardon me for getting excited over small mercies but this has been one of the hardest transitions for me in moving from Canada. So much so that I refuse to buy a wallet and still carry around my cardholder, in hopes that cash will be a thing of the past here in T&T within the next couple of years (wishful thinking).

What stuck out to me about the Wipay deck was that I saw a sponsor that I haven’t really seen sponsor these types of events before and that sponsor was MasterCard.

Kes Tuesday on the rocks
Wipay-Mastercard @ Kes Tuesday On The Rocks

Immediately, my brain went into overdrive. I know that Wipay is partnering with MasterCard to release their Rebel card soon but when did MasterCard get involved with fetes, unless…Hmm…Unless MasterCard is thinking about getting more involved in the Caribbean.

Now, again…I have no idea whether this is the case or not but seeing them sponsor an event that wasn’t some high-level corporate event just has me excited for what the possibilities of them having a bigger presence in the Caribbean can mean.

From a business perspective, one of the biggest challenges for us is growing the e-commerce industry here in T&T. Hands down our biggest issue is payments. We have access to payment processors, we can use platforms like WordPress to build our own websites but if nobody has a credit card to pay you, then e-commerce simply cannot happen effectively.

Imagine if MasterCard decided to create more credit products for us, something as simple as over the counter pre-paid cards. Something the rest of the world has enjoyed for decades and we haven’t had the pleasure of using it in the Caribbean.

Walking into your nearest gas station, grabbing a pre-paid credit card and loading it up as you see fit. This would provide a major boost to e-commerce here locally. Anywho, this is something I would love to see.

So ladies and gentlemen, let us keep an eye on MasterCard and see what else they do. For them to sponsor a local Carnival event without any real presence like how they operate in other countries, doesn’t make sense, unless they are looking to get more involved in our market.

I am hopeful and a little excited for the possibilities of 2020. MasterCard, if you are hearing this…The Caribbean is ready and waiting for whatever you can offer us.

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