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.
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