PRESS RELEASE St Helena takes first steps to a cashless society with iPayu.

iPayu, iFinancial’s P2B mobile phone payments solution, has gone live in St Helena after a period of extensive testing with selected merchants and end users. The system, which was developed in conjunction with the Bank of St Helena and the St Helena government is the first step on a programme to introduce electronic payments on the island.

St Helena is a volcanic tropical island in the South Atlantic Ocean, 4,000 kilometres east of Rio de Janeiro and 1,950 kilometres west of the border between Namibia and Angola in southwestern Africa. It is part of the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. It measures about 16 by 8 kilometres and has a population of approximately 4,500. It is one of the most remote islands in the world and was uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese in 1502. It is named after Saint Helena of Constantinople. Saint Helena is Britain’s second-oldest overseas territory after Bermuda.

iPayu which has now been adopted by almost one third of the adult population enables cardholders to be able to easily shop at many of the islands retailers without the need to carry cash. The merchant scans the customer’s card using an iPod and providing the customer has sufficient funds settlement with the merchant is instantaneous without the delays normally associated with the more established card products.  iPayu also offers all of the features associated with traditional debit cards such as purchase, refund and cash back.

The roll out of iPayu to the local population is the first part of a complete digitisation programme which will eventually enable tourists, visiting the island using the newly constructed airport, to be able to use their smart phone as the method of payment without the need to acquire the local currency St Helena pounds. The P2B mobile phone payments solution tourist programme is currently expected to become operational from early 2020. 

iFinancial Director Matthew Day says “iPayu is a perfect solution for small islands such as St Helena. Additionally, the foreign-exchange capability that is being in built into the tourist card project will enable a customer from one island to be able to buy goods on another island provided that both merchants are part of the iPayu network”.

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