Over 10,000 Jamaicans have signed up for the open market pilot of Lynk, a new digital wallet, ahead of its official rollout in the local fintech market.
Inspired by leading global solutions like Cash App, Zelle and Venmo, Lynk is an app for sending and receiving money between users. Lynk also facilitates the transfer of funds to and from local banks.
The open market pilot, which began on Monday, December 13, also facilitates the purchase of goods and services from a growing list of ‘Lynk’ small merchants. The pilot will run for two months.
“This open market pilot is all about allowing customers to test and provide feedback so that we can build a product to meet their needs and solve their pain points,” said Dr Luke Foster, chief growth officer at TFOB (the future of business).
The Lynk digital wallet is being launched by TFOB (the future of business), a new fintech company in the NCB Financial Group. It has already been approved for testing by the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ), which launched its Fintech “Sandbox” in March 2020. The Sandbox facilitates monitored testing of cutting-edge financial technologies.
Lynk was built by a largely Jamaican team and tailored for Jamaicans to solve multiple consumer pain points under three main pillars – security, speed and accessibility.
“With Lynk, you are able to transfer funds faster than using other platforms and other technologies. It is really like sending a text message to send money,” Foster explained, adding that “Lynk to Lynk [transfers] are instantaneous, regardless of the time of day”.
Moreover, through Lynk’s cutting-edge encryption multi-factor authentication and latest fraud prevention technology, the app ensures that consumers’ data and money are always safe.
In terms of accessibility, Foster said, “it doesn’t matter if you are an NCB customer or a Scotia customer … anybody can set up an account with Lynk.”
Lynk will ultimately allow people who don’t have bank accounts – the underbanked and unbanked – to set up an account. It will also eventually become available to Jamaicans in the Diaspora.
“It’s a very inclusive platform. We are trying to solve the problems for all segments,” Foster added.
Included in the segments of people is the small business owner.
“Our research has shown that a lot of the small businesses and sole proprietors tend to get left behind. And so Lynk is a solution that can help the very small business, the tradesmen, the sole proprietor … all of these people, who transact daily and have had problems with cash collection,” said Foster.
As such Lynk is onboarding merchants ranging from food and beverage providers, beauticians and small service providers and will be rolling out customised solutions to meet the complex needs of medium to large businesses
“We are starting a small business acquisition, in advance of another aspect of the product later on, where will we actually cater to the large-scale businesses to help them grow. But, at the moment, we are targeting the small businesses,” Foster said, noting that Lynk has so far onboarded 50 small merchants.
Lynk has seemingly begun to make a name in the local fintech market with its digital wallet. Upon the launch of its open market pilot last week, Lynk trended on Twitter for days, with several users providing a positive response to the product.
“We are absolutely just blown away by the responses. We knew that this was a solution that was in demand, based on the challenges that people have with transacting and making payments on a daily basis,” said Foster.
Lynk users have also used their social media platforms to invite others to join the platform, in a bid to cash in on a limited-time-only welcome bonus. Each Lynk user receives J$500 upon sign up and J$250 for each referral.
“Every business has to attract customers, and there’s a cost to do that. But we also felt that at this point in time, the Christmas season, this is the best way to bring our product to market and to give back to customers, who in this phase, are giving back to us in terms of feedback and joining our community,” noted Foster.
Lynk is also positioned to be among the first digital wallets to transmit the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) once the BOJ has signed off on the testing and officially opens CBDC to the market.
“So, in addition to other currencies like the USD, Lynk will ultimately offer the CBDC,” Foster noted.