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Digital wallet system set to come to Bermuda

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Imagine going into a store, taking something you want to buy to the counter and waving your mobile phone in front of a terminal. The purchase made, you walk out of the store.

There was no need to open your purse or wallet, or fiddle with loose change.

Later, you do a similar thing at a coffee shop, paying for your drink by tapping a button on your phone.

Such technology makes cash and plastic cards virtually redundant. It is being used today by millions of people around the world, and Bermuda is about to be introduced to a digital wallet product.

A top executive for a fintech company that is spearheading multifaceted digital wallet solutions globally has visited the island.

Gitesh Athavale, general manager of MatchMove Pay, was in Bermuda last week as part of a push by the company into the Americas and Caribbean markets.

The Singaporean-based company's cloud-based MatchMove Wallet operating system enables companies and banks to offer customers a mobile wallet solution.

In Singapore, MatchMove is also licensed to issue American Express and Mastercard debit and credit cards.

Outside Singapore it provides a software service to banks and companies, giving them the same infrastructure to operate a mobile wallet system.

The technology enables customers to make easier and safer payments without using cash. They do so with their smartphone in a variety of ways, such as scanning a QR code (quick response code), tapping a payment terminal, or doing a person-to-person money transfer.

It is part of a move towards digital cash transactions that are popular with younger people and are increasingly being used by older customers.

Millions of people in Southeast Asia use the technology.

With a secure digital wallet on a smartphone, a user can make payments online or at a store, restaurant or even to a taxi driver, without using physical cash.

They can also have a virtual credit card that is prepaid from their mobile wallet to a chosen limit — thereby safeguarding the amount that could potentially be lost if their phone is taken.

A mobile payment and digital wallet solution can be used in places where the person might feel uncomfortable entering personal details, as they would be required to do using a traditional debit or credit card.

“Our goal is to target smartphone users. It is the minicomputer in your hand and it is the future,” said Mr Gitesh.

“We want to deliver these types of technologies and empower the user and the banks with a platform.”

Digital wallets and associated payment apps are considered more secure than credit and debit cards as they eliminate the opportunity for a card to be swiped and cloned.

A digital wallet can be locked, and money can be toggled back and forth between a prepaid card and the wallet.

The digital wallet and digital payment app sector is growing rapidly. MatchMove has been recognised internationally for its innovation, including being named Top Global Innovator in the SWIFT Innotribe Innovator Challenge, a global fintech competition in Boston.

Mr Gitesh said the company has not seen a digital wallet solution on the market that compares to its multifaceted platform. It enables companies to offer customers a secure, fully-branded mobile wallet solution that can include person-to-person transfer, remittance, top-up channels, virtual payment cards, loyalty points, promotions and other features.

MatchMove has a partnership with Mastercard and offices across Southeast Asia and India. It is also opening offices in South Africa and Miami.

Mr Gitesh has been visiting countries in the Americas as part of MatchMove's expansion.

The company is working with banks and business communities, such as shopping malls, airlines and social apps, to increase the usage of the MatchMove Wallet operating system.

The benefit to banks and companies is co-branding and access to the technology.

“Most banks don't have this type of technology. They are still sitting on a legacy system that is 30 or 40 years old. We have leapfrogged that to this technology.”

Mr Gitesh's stop in Bermuda coincides with the arrival of a digital wallet product for the island. The nature of the new product is being kept under wraps until its launch, which is expected this week.

Globally, the switch to cashless transactions is gathering pace and Mr Gitesh sees great potential for the technology in Bermuda, the Caribbean and North and South America.

And it is not only the younger generation who are adapting to cashless transactions.

“It starts with young people, who are well-versed with their smartphones,” said Mr Gitesh.

“They want to budget and control their spending. That behaviour and adaptation is now being seen in middle-aged and older people.”

Mr Gitesh estimates he makes between 15 and 20 contactless transactions each week when he is in Singapore, with notes and coins only being used for petty payments, such as tips.

“There is still a need for cash, but it has come down in Asia. Everything can become cashless, but behaviours have to change.”

MatchMove has a website at

Global trend: Gitesh Athavale, general manager of MatchMove Pay, has visited Bermuda ahead of the launch of a digital wallet product on the island (Photograph by Scott Neil)
Wider acceptance: a pedestrian in India walks past a sign showing various digital payment methods, including the option to scan and pay using a smartphone with a digital wallet app (Photograph by Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

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Published May 16, 2017 at 8:07 pm (Updated May 17, 2017 at 10:08 am)

Digital wallet system set to come to Bermuda

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