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Belize COVID-19 Cash Transfer Program to roll out in the coming week

The Ministry of Human Development, Families and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, in partnership with the National Bank of Belize Limited, Digi, and Belize Social Investment Fund, recently announced the launching of the Belize COVID-19 Cash Transfer Program (BCATT). The BCATT program aims to provide support to vulnerable households affected by COVID-19 via supplementary short-term cash payments. Digi has developed a new mobile wallet solution called MobilePayz for the program; the first of its kind to be implemented in the country. 

The Ministry of Human Development, Families and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, in partnership with the National Bank of Belize Limited, Digi, and Belize Social Investment Fund, recently announced the launching of the Belize COVID-19 Cash Transfer Program (BCATT). The BCATT program aims to provide support to vulnerable households affected by COVID-19 via supplementary short-term cash payments. Digi has developed a new mobile wallet solution called MobilePayz for the program; the first of its kind to be implemented in the country.  BCATT beneficiaries will be notified of their applications and payment dates through MobilePayz and will be able to cash out their funds from their mobile phone. Love News spoke to Moshea Smith, General Manager of Business and Wholesale Sales at Digi about how MobilePayz came to fruition and the benefit it will have for the Belizean people.

Moshea Smith, General Manager of Business and Wholesale Sales, Digi: “So at Digi we constantly look at ways of how we can improve the lives of the Belizean citizen and different solutions that we can bring to market to do that. This is something we’ve been working on for some time but earlier this year when the COVID-19 pandemic hit we realized there was a huge challenge in the government’s ability to disburse relief funding to Belizeans given the fact that the banks were also experiencing their own issues. So what we then did is we looked at how we would be able to facilitate or help in getting that done and we decided that this project that we were looking for some time, the mobile wallet was a good opportunity to assist with that. So we reached out to some of our partners, the Ministry of Human Development and National Bank who is the banking partner in this endeavor and with the support of the World Bank who actually made the funding available then we built out this platform that allows us to disburse cash to the Belizean Citizens who need relief because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So we also then looked at different avenues in terms of how do we expand this project beyond where it is and of course the natural progression is entering into the mobile financial space and implementing a mobile payment system for Belize. This is the first of its kind in the area of a mobile wallet in the country of Belize. The benefit to the Belizean public and the ones who will be utilizing the service at the onset when we launch in the next couple weeks are really- so what happens in terms of their ability to access funds we know that within our financial sector there’s a considerable size of our population that is unbanked meaning they don’t have bank accounts or have issues accessing financial services so what this will do for those individuals is to allow them to easily access funding in a convenient manner and that’s distributed across the entire country by using Digi’s locations and National Bank’s locations to then receive relief funding on a very frequent basis.”

Smith affirmed that MobilePayz is in its initial phase as Digi hopes to roll it out for the rest of the Belizean public, and not just those under the BCATT program. He also provided a brief breakdown on how MobilePayz will work for its users and Digi’s future plans for community outreach and innovation.

Moshea Smith, General Manager of Business and Wholesale Sales, Digi:  The way it works for the users and the way it will work them at launch in the coming weeks is each individual is created a digital account, we’ve  created a digital account for them where their relief funding would be made available via that account. Once the relief funding is made available they will receive a SMS notification on their mobile phone telling them that their funs are available and also giving them the nearest Digi or National Bank location where they are able to go and receive their relief funding. They would be able to walk into one of these locations and providing their Social Security number and providing an authentication key that would be sent to their mobile phone they would be able to access their mobile funding. The process is relatively quick and smooth for the consumer and so in walking in we target about a minute for them to go through the full transaction process and that’s why we decided one of the more convenient ways to do this is by using their mobile phone because everybody has their mobile phone, you might forget your wallet at home but most people don’t forget their mobile phones. Yes we do, we consistently work with government and with the community to figure out how we can better serve the Belizean public and we’ve been engaged with government over the years in building out new projects in order to serve the Belizean public better and we continue those efforts with government as is. So there are a number of things we have in the pipeline within the line of the mobile pay solution. The next big thing you will see from us is our mobile payment solution or our digital wallet which will then allow Belizeans to conveniently access financial services and then with our community based outreach program that we normally have you know we continue to support sports, the youths and all other areas of the community.”

Persons are now able to apply for the BCCAT program.