Back in November of 2019, we would have gathered at the Hyatt for Widay. Wipay’s yearly event would have started 2 years ago and heard some of the companies latest announcements for the market. One of those key announcements was the launch of the Rebel card.
I wanted to touch base with you again because we have some more news and a bit of an update on that Wipay Rebel Card.
Since Nov, Wipay has officially signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Mastercard and a new date for the roll-out of the virtual prepaid card will be by the end of April. Back in November, Wipay was engaged with Visa to power this card but it’s clear this was a project that Mastercard wanted to get involved with and made a better offer to Wipay.
This card is a prepaid card that you will be able to load funds through their bank account. Due to the current pandemic, they had originally scheduled the launch of the card at the end of May to coincide with their physical card but decided to push for the release of the virtual card, to help get more customers online.
The pandemic has exposed the Caribbean and shown us that we are severely lacking when it comes to the digital transformation. One simply needs to look at the long lines to do banking in order to pay bills, other businesses have virtually ground to a halt because they have not built out any of the online components in order to deliver their products or services in a virtual manner and get paid online.
Citizens also lack the facilities needed to even make online purchases, given that a mere 10% of the country has access to a credit card.
The pandemic has caught Trinidad and Tobago slipping!
So what does the Rebel card really help us with?
Wipay will create greater access for the citizens to get access to a virtual credit card they can use to make purchases online within Trinidad & Tobago. Currently, the card will not have access to Forex to facilitate international purchases.
The Rebel Card is an essential piece to the 3 keys of Ecommerce. Those 3 keys are a payment mechanism for citizens (credit card), a payment processor (Wipay/Paypal/FAC) and an Ecommerce website.
Where Trinidad has been lacking is on the payment mechanisms and businesses actually having an E-commerce ready platform, in order to facilitate online payments.
In a statement from Mastercard, the advised – The partnership with Mastercard will all Wipay to leverage Mastercard’s bank in the box solution and empower MSEs through card acceptance. Bank in the box is an end to end solution for MSEs that do not accept card payments and that are not financially included.
Mastercard doubling down on the Caribbean region is great news for us and will fast track the financial inclusion for the underbanked and the unbanked. Seeing Mastercard sponsor events during this past Carnival definitely caught my eye and I kept wondering what would the next steps be for them in the Caribbean.
This type of collaboration will be more motivation for business owners to ensure they get their business online and begin diversifying their products and services with digital components, that way they are no longer just reliant on the confines of the traditional business model.
For far too long, business owners were never motivated to build out any of their digital assets because the consumer market did not have a viable way to make payments online.
Trying to get a prepaid Mastercard with FCB is a task and we all hate to spend hours in the bank. Republic Bank discontinued their VTM cards, Bmobile also had their own prepaid Visa card that was discontinued and had a nightmare application process.
If Wipay nails their application process, we can begin seeing a flood of more citizens gaining the ability to make online purchases, even if the card only has the power to be used within TT currency, it can be a great boost to commerce in the country.
While the virtual card is set to launch by the end of April, the physical cards will start being sent out in May.
So with the news of the arrival of the Rebel card, what should be the immediate next steps for businesses?
The next step will be for businesses to start building their digital assets. Build your Ecommerce ready website, take advantage of Wipay, Paypal, Buzzpay and First Atlantics platform “Fygaro”, in order to send invoices to clients that they will be able to pay you via a credit card.
The next step for Trinidad & Tobago needs to be a massive education drive that focuses on teaching businesses how to leverage these platforms to create Ecommerce and for the citizens, showing them how to use the systems like Rebel and remind them of all the other Prepaid card options out there that they can take advantage of.
Business owners must get into the habit of educating their client base on how to do business with them as well. This isn’t something we can leave up to the government or wait for somebody else to do it. If you can guide your customers on what is needed to save time to do business with you, everybody will win in the long run.
The Covid 19 pandemic has forced the Digital Revolution upon us. This may just be the kick we need to finally embrace our fears of technology and move to leverage platforms to increase commerce and efficiency in Trinidad & Tobago.