The Small Business Development Centre (SBDC) is working with local banks to make it easier and possibly cheaper for small businesses to open and operate merchant accounts, especially in regards to processing credit and debit card payments, SBDC Executive Director Davinia Blair said yesterday.
Blair, who was the speaker at an InspiredBy talk at The Current at Baha Mar, said she has heard numerous complaints about the process of opening a merchant account and the expense associated with it.
She said the process has proven to be onerous and requires a lot of time. However, she contended the SBDC is addressing this problem with the banks, especially those the SBDC works with.
She added that technology has been a challenge, especially on the Family Islands, though she said the penetration and use of technology in business is much better than it was several years ago.
She added that the idea of a cashless Bahamas has not been aggressively pushed because of the concern for older people, especially those on the Family Islands. However, she said even the older generation is becoming more technologically advanced and is using the products.
The Central Bank of The Bahamas is putting together a pilot project to use technology to advance the unbanked on the Family Islands. It recently announced that it has found a technology company to help move the project forward with a digital Bahamian currency.
Blair said it will be the government’s challenge, through policy to bridge the technological and financial divide.
She added that the “bottleneck” in small business persons’ processes should not be due to their payment systems.