BAHAMAS: Jurisdiction launches prepaid card for its Sand Dollar project.

As published on invezz.com, Thursday 18 February, 2021.

A partnership between the Bahamas Central Bank, Mastercard, and Island Pay will enable people to spend Sand Dollar using prepaid Mastercard.

The Bahamas Sand Dollar, which is the world’s first central bank digital currency (CBDC), can be used at any outlet that accepts Mastercard.

Users can instantly convert the digital Bahaman dollars to traditional Bahamian dollars in their Mastercard and withdraw through an ATM or pay for goods and services.

According to the partnership announcement, the move is made to make the country’s digital currency easily accessible by users.

“The new card will be accepted for payments across the Caribbean region and other locations supporting Mastercard,” the partnership reads.

The Bahamas CBDC will be useful for providing additional payment choices, facilitating government disbursements, and encourage a more inclusive economy.

The region is covered by over 5,000 square miles of water with about 700 small islands scattered around it. Due to the nature of the settlements, it becomes a bit more expensive to move cash.

As a result, a central digital payments option becomes a necessity in the region. There are plans to allow the use of the Sand Dollar by tourists.

The pilot program for the Sand Dollar was initiated in 2019, but it was fully deployed in October last year, representing the digital version of the fiat currency.

During its first launch, only registered users have access to the CBDC through a digital app. But the new solution has made it accessible to a broader user-base.

Island Pay is providing the technology for the new system. The digital payment startup already has a license to operate as an electronic money institution and payment service provider in the Bahamas. The Sand Dollar card has also been integrated into the Island Pay mobile wallet.

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