Card is now accepted on 21 ATMs and 76 merchant outlets countrywide
By Sanna Camara
The vice president of the global payment company Mastercard has posited that the ue of Mastercard in Gambia will facilitate trade, reduce cost to cash and modernise payments in the country.
Speaking to journalists at a press briefing on the sidelines of the Mastecrad launching in Gambia last weekend, Ms. Omokehinde Ojomuyide, Vice President and Area Business Head for Mastercard in West Africa, said moving to electronic payments is safer, more convenient and it is cheaper because that cost to cash is then removed from it.
“We have realised that when people are able to use their cards instead of cash, they pay more and spend more. So this partnership with the GTBank offers Mastercard holders an opportunity to spend when they come to The Gambia to spend in restaurants, supermarkets and the hotels, which is easier as opposed to card,” he said.
Card holders can withdraw money, make payments in Dalasi
Tourists and business travelers carrying MasterCard will now be able to withdraw money and make payments in the local currency ‘Dalasi’, for the first time on 21 GTBank ATMs and 76 merchant outlets strategically located in Banjul and Greater Banjul Area.
“And since tourism is a major contributor to Gambia’s GDP, this spending will make it easier for businesses to thrive, which will bring good value to our economy,” Ojomuyide added.
The Mastercard deputy West Africa Rep said when people like tourists know that they no longer have to carry cash to The Gambia and that their cards will be accepted, it facilitates trade and the cost to cash is reduced.
Cost of cash ‘is expensive’
There is a cost to cash. Just because it’s in your wallet and you get value for the whole amount you give doesn’t mean there is no cost to it. Government is subsidising this cost. The financial institutions are subsidising that cost…,” she said.
“We need to modernise payment and this is one of the ways you have to get it done. When we talk about cashless payment, ATMs and Point of Sale (POS) terminals, it is not just about the technology, it is because there is a real good reason why it is important to do cashless payment in business transactions,” she said.
CEO of Guaranty Trust bank Gambia Limited., Mr. Femi Omotoso said the launching of MasterCard is therefore a historic milestone for the development of the country.
‘One of the world’s fastest payments processing networks’
He said MasterCard is a global payment company, and it operates one of the world’s fastest payments processing networks, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries.
“Enabling our e-channels for MasterCard indeed opens up opportunities for business, retail and tourism for our country. The hotel and tourism industry will especially benefit from this service,” Mr Omotoso, whose bank is the twice winner of the Gambia Chamber of Commerce-organised ‘Bank of the Year Award’ said.
“The existence of Visa card, the robust internet platform of the bank, the deployments of Point of Sales Terminals and ATMs in hotels, restaurants and supermarkets, the establishment of the first and only electronic branch in country and now the enabling of MasterCard on POS and ATMs for the first time in The Gambia, are giant steps taken by GTBank,” said Ms. Codou Jabang, deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism.
‘A wonderful experience…’
Binta Sompo Ceesay, a GTBank customer and holder of the Mastercard for many years, who was present at the ceremony, after the launching, immediately walked to an ATM machine at the launching grounds, slotted her Mastercard in, punched some buttons, and then came out the cash from an opening on the machine.
“It’s a wonderful experience, that’s for sure. It’s nice to be able to have a card, but nicer to know you can be able to use it in a country. GTBank has really outdone themselves this time because I have the Mastercard for a number of years but I haven’t been able to use it here in The Gambia. It’s the first time today that I have been able to use it,” she said.