Gordon Swaby

The online payment dilemma in Jamaica

We accept payment in two ways on EduFocal:

1. Credit Card: The National Commercial Bank ( NCB) processes EduFocal’s credit card transactions. We accept Mastercard, Visa and NCB’s keycard.  The process of paying is simple. You enter your credit card information on our SSL secured sign up page and your payment is processed, money instantly goes into our NCB bank account. The process of setting up wasn’t necessarily easy, it wasn’t cheap either. To be approved by NCB there are A LOT of requirements, requirements many Jamaican startup entrepreneurs probably can’t meet, but that’s for another blog post.  Currently only NCB and Scotiabank offer merchants services in Jamaica.

2. EduFocal codes/Vouchers: The ideal option of payment for us is something called EduFocal codes. It’s akin  to adding credit/minutes to your phone, something many Jamaicans are familiar with. You walk into a store, pay a merchant and a voucher is printed with a code on it, you then use said code to complete your registration process on EduFocal. There are over 3,000 merchants island-wide.



So those are both great and convenient ways for customers to pay for EduFocal, but unfortunately not many online entrepreneurs in Jamaica have this luxury.

How Paypal can help

Wikipedia describes Paypal as “a global e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet. Online money transfers serve as electronic alternatives to paying with traditional paper methods, such as checks and money orders.” A couple Jamaican websites process payments with paypal, but in all honesty it’s not practical for most. Paypal has the infrastructure for you to process credit cards on your website, but it’s missing one important part. You can’t add your Jamaican bank account to paypal, so when you process payments the money doesn’t go to your bank account, it instead gets added to your paypal balance.

You can request a check from paypal, but that takes days and when it finally gets to Jamaica the bank will take weeks to clear your cheque. Again, not practical for a business.

What needs to happen

We need to have the ability to add local bank accounts to our paypal account. Therefore when a payment is processed it goes directly into our local bank account. With participation from local banks and the Government of Jamaica I’m sure this can happen.


Jamaica is missing from the ‘Send. Receive. Withdraw to a Local or US Bank Account or a card.” list. That’s where we need to be: https://www.paypal.com/uk/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_display-approved-signup-countries-outside

It’s a problem that I’m sure some stakeholders are working on a solution for, but as of today it’s still a problem. After we’ve solved the problem of accepting payments online we can then move on to the next issue: costs associated with processing transactions. One day at time. 🙂 Drop me a line in the comments section if you have any questions. If you want to contact me privately you can do so at gordon[at]swaby.me

Written by Gordon Swaby

Gordon Swaby

Founder and CEO of social learning service EduFocal.com. I’m passionate about technology, the internet and the use of technology in education. I am a recipient of Governor General’s Youth Award, the PSOJ’s 50 Under 50 Award, The commonwealth Youth Award and many others.

Lovingly made on Friday, July 20th, 2012 at 1:25 pm. Filed under Entrepreneurship, Jamaica/Politics.

  • http://claja.com/ Donald Porter

    Paypal is already working on this.The original problem was that Jamaican banks did not have a modern debit card system, nor the population of potential users for paypal to invest in the infrastructure to to work fluently with what we did have (bank cards & credit cards, no visa/master debit). Scotia’s deployment of VISA debit cards and the banks that will follow later will be the best to lobby for Paypal to open up the gates, not the Government… they have no say. Which leads me to our latest problem, the only thing the gov can do is put an end to scamming (impossible), or find a way to get Jamaica off the ‘scamming nations’ list, which paypal is very aware of.

    With internet penetration booming throughout the island (mostly mobile), people craving to use PayPal and Jamaican banks slowly meeting the criteria it’s only a matter of time. 
    I remember when PayPal Jamaica didn’t even exist, but we now use them as our main payment processor on http://claja.com.  
    There are many paypal alternatives however that do deposit directly into Jamaican bank accounts. Google ‘PayPal Alternative’ and find a service which accepts all major cards without consumer registration and your good to go. 

    • Merchant

      What are some of these alternatives that deposit into Jamaican bank accounts?

      • Outside the box

        Well I use Payoneer. They create a virtual US account and give me a card to use at a compatible ATM (Scotia) with fees included of course

        • jessica

          what kind of card do you use to receive money in jamaica master/debit/credit card please reply can you explain the process please you can email me at lelejamaicangirl@gmail.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/shanafrancia.barnett Shana-Francia Barnett

    I have been trying to find an alternative around this paypal issue for months. As you rightfully said requesting a check takes a while but cashing the cheque takes 30days the most here. As a developer this is unacceptable and I am sure it is for other individuals and companies as well. Thanks for the post and clearing up a few questions I had as to why this is not fixed already.

    Shana-Kay Barnett

    • Outside the box

      Well I use Payoneer. They create a virtual US account and give me a card to use at a compatible ATM (Scotia) with fees included of course.

    • Remittance Jamaica

      Please Visit Us http://www.facebook.com/remittancejamaica we can assist your needs. Please spread the word after each transaction you do with us. Thanks

    • sachii

      can i have your opinion on something?

  • Remittance Jamaica

    Please Visit Us http://www.facebook.com/remittancejamaica we can assist if you want to get your cash from your Paypal Account. Please spread the word after each transaction you do with us. Thanks

  • grace

    i need a payment solution for my website to accept money from jamaicans via ocal debit/credit card

  • Simone

    The banks NCB in particular do not make it is easy for small business to start accepting payments. You have to deposit somewhere between $30,000 to $50,000 to prove capability, then wait 3 months for your site to be approved then they take 4% from each transaction. Lord knows Jamaica need Stripe or other payment gateways that are a breeze to setup and only 1%.

  • Marshalee Goodaz Thompson

    It’s 2018 now and I can’t find a SINGLE credit card processor that supports Jamaica for my ecommerce store. What the hell is wrong with Jamaica????

Web Analytics