The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank has launched a programme meant to transform the Caribbean economy into a digital economy with the use of a DXCD App and a new digital EC currency.
Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, Timothy Antoine gives details about the new app that should revolutionise online commerce in the currency union.
He told the local media via video-conference, “When we launched this pilot seven months ago, we said that there will be two phases: first phase will be a development and testing phase for about 12 months, followed by live implementation phase of about six months.
“We’ve actually completed seven months. And a lot of the work for the last six, seven months have been on maintaining and development of protocols. We’re now to enter a very important phase which is user interface and testing and public education. A number of steps over the next few months are to actually engage financial institutions, finalize the requirements, engage the users and make sure that we shape and finesse the user experience in this testing period before launch. And of course, to get the public to appreciate what it is that we are doing. “
The Governor says that for an economy largely dependent on tourism, the Caribbean lags behind the rest of the world in terms of digital payment.
He says 80% of transactions in the Caribbean are still with paper, i.e. cash and cheque.
Governor Antoine says the DXCD App would be easily accessible by anyone using an electronic device.
“Simply, you go into the app store and download the app. You will then beconnected with partners, financial institutions and mobile providers. You scan to make a payment, the payment is recorded, and then your account gets debited, the vendor gets credited, and you get a confirmation at the end.”
He is concerned by the current cost of conducting business digitally and says this factor must be revisited.
The Governor of the ECCB noted that security remains priority explaining that username and passwords will be necessary and identities will be strictly verified.
There are a few milestones that the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank would like to reach by the year 2025.
Governor Antoine revealed, “What could the future hold for the ECCB when it comes to payments and this data EC dollar? At this moment, looking out, 2025 thereabout, we see a reduction in cash by about 50%. Cheques, by about 80%. Credit cards, debit cards, will continue, they have their convenience and we believe that they will pick up. We anticipate [their use increasing] by 50 and 40 percent respectively. Electronic payments, [will increase] by maybe about 60%.
“DXD, the digital dollar, will pick up where physical cash falls off; so as we have less physical cash, we will have more digital cash.
Several banks and credit unions of St. Kitts And Nevis, St. Lucia, Grenada and Antigua and Barbuda are testing the DXCD App.