Cash is still king, says BOJ

BY AVIA COLLINDER Business reporter collindera@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) indicates that during the year ended electronic payments increased, but there still remains among Jamaicans a strong preference for cash payments.


Cash is still king. During 2016, as outlined in the central banks 2016 Financial Stability Report — released last week — currency in circulation increased by 17.8 per cent to $86.4 billion relative to growth of 15.3 per cent for 2015.


Meanwhile, the number of cheque transactions declined.


BOJ, which oversees the payments system, said debit cards continued to be the most utilised retail payment instrument in 2016, accounting for 69.4 per cent of the total number of retail payment transactions, an increase of 4.1 percentage points.


Cheques accounted for 58.1 per cent of the total value of retail transactions for 2016. This was indicative of migration from paper-based forms of payments to electronic form.


The national payments system comprises a set of payment instruments by which funds are transferred among participants to facilitate the circulation of money both locally and internationally. The participants are banks (including the central bank) and other financial institutions which settle payments among themselves, both on behalf of customers and on their own behalf


Activities in the BOJ’s JamClear-Real-Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) – set up to facilitate immediate settlement of payment transfer — increased, with the overall value of transactions amounting to 10.4 times the size of the economy.


The total value of JamClear-RTGS transactions increased by 17.7 per cent to $18 trillion for 2016, and a system turnover of 10.4 times gross domestic product (GDP).


The BOJ in its report said the average monthly transaction value increased to $1.5 trillion for 2016 relative to $1.2 trillion for 2015. Similarly, the average monthly transaction volume increased by 62.2 per cent to 40,732 transactions.


On the other hand, the system which facilitates payments for securities, the JamClear-CSD system (managing transactions related to domestic issues of BOJ and GOJ instruments), continued to show mixed performance for 2016 with increases in transactional value and decreases in transaction volume.


The overall value increased by 6.6 per cent to $22 trillion in 2016, which represented a system turnover of 12.6 times GDP.


The overall volume of transactions, however, declined to 113,597 transactions for 2016, relative to 130,834 transactions for 2015.


In the area of retail payments, total value of transactions for the Automated Clearing House (ACH) in 2016 decreased to $1.1 trillion relative to $1.2 trillion for 2015. Cheques processed accounted for $9.2 billion, a decrease of 10.6 per cent relative to 2015.


While total volume of cheque transactions increased to 9.9 million for 2016, relative to 9.3 million for 2015, the number of processed cheques however decreased by 4.3 per cent.


The BOJ said that activity within the MultiLink card network increased for 2016. The total value of transactions increased by 20.1 per cent to $152.9 billion. The average monthly transactional value also increased $12.7 billion for 2016 relative to $10.6 billion for 2015.


The average monthly volume also increased to 2.1 million transactions for 2016 relative to 1.8 million transactions for 2015.


The BOJ said the increase in average monthly transactional activity on Multilink was influenced by growth in both point-of-sale (POS) and automated bank machine (ABM) transactions.


The average monthly volume of POS transactions increased to one million, an increase of 20.1 per cent, amounting to $5.7 billion; while the number of ABM transactions increased to one million, an increase of 7.6 per cent, amounting to $7.1 billion.


Overall, the central bank said, the total number of retail transactions increased by 3.6 per cent to 55,246 per 1,000 people with average monthly transaction volumes increasing to 4,604 transactions per 1,000 people.

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