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International Debit Card for Credit Unions Coming

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A debit card for Jamaican credit union members is coming soon. That is the announcement from the Jamaica Co-operative Credit Union League (JCCUL). This debit card will be supported by Mastercards and will offer additional rewards to credit union members. The Credit Union League is currently in discussions with Mastercard to finalise the arrangements that will benefit the island’s credit union members.

Currently, the island’s credit unions are self-regulatory. They are soon to be regulated by the bank of Jamaica (BOJ).  Until then, the credit union is not allowed to issue credit cards to its members. It can, however, issue debit cards and for the last 20 years, credit union members have benefitted from local debit cards from their credit unions.

The upcoming arrangement with Mastercard will be a first for the credit union movement in that members will be able to use their debit card for online shopping and shopping overseas.

The word from the Chief Executive Officer of the JCCUL, Robin Levy, is that there is an agreement in principle between the League and Mastercard. The parties are, however, yet to sign off on the revenue sharing arrangements and the costs for using the debit card for credit unions.

Benefits of the Mastercard Debit Card

Mr. Levy spoke of the various benefits that credit union members will enjoy once this new debit card comes on stream. These include the ability to:

  1. shop online or buy products from overseas;
  2. travel and make purchases using this Mastercard debit card;
  3. use other credit unions to access services;
  4. access loans and lines of credit much faster and easier;
  5. spend their own money at a lower cost using this card;
  6. pay bills, transfer funds and carry out other online banking functions.

He assured credit union members that they do not require other cards once they have this Mastercard debit card as it will take care of all their transactions.

New Debit Card Expected by year-end

The new Mastercard debit card for credit unions is expected to come on stream by the end of 2019. Mr. Levy noted that the JCCUL is looking forward to offering this exciting new card service to every credit union member. By the first quarter of 2020, credit union members will begin to access this debit card. He pointed out that the JCCUL is expecting a good deal to come out of the current negotiations with Mastercard.

JCCUL had selected to use the services of Mastercard as it provided a better set of options compared to the offerings of the competition. Mastercard also supports its products with its own money so there is no risk of failure. The Credit Union also provides a large membership base for Mastercard, which makes this an attractive prospect for that service provider.

As of March 31, 2019, the JCCUL reported that there are twenty-five credit unions across the island. These institutions serve more than one million members and the movement is growing as new members sign up. The credit union movement has had an untarnished history of providing low-cost loans to its members.


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