Seychelles doesn’t want “a cashless society but a cash-light one”, says Central Bank Governor

Seychelles expects to introduce an electronic money (e-money) regulation by June to provide potential investors in the field with the necessary guidelines. 

In a recent press conference, the financial surveillance analyst at the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS), Cyril Benoiton, said that the regulation will provide more information on licensing and reporting requirements and applicable licences, offences and penalties. 

According to the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), e-money is typically stored in a user’s account which can be accessed using a card or an electronic device, such as a mobile phone, and can be used to pay for goods and services. It is commonly referred to as digital or electronic wallets. 

Introduced in line with the CBS’ national payment system modernisation plan and its Fintech strategy, the introduction of the regulations is in line with the government’s digital economy agenda. 

The CBS governor, Caroline Abel, said that moving towards a digital economy will allow for faster transactions, as well as provide more security and peace of mind for the public, service providers and business owners. 

“A worker can pay different bills at the comfort of their home from either their computer or mobile device with internet access. This cuts out travelling and waiting time and reduces the time it takes to complete the task, leaving the person time to do other things. The person receiving the payment gets it faster than when transactions are carried out manually through the use of cash. It is a security issue to walk around with a lot of money as an individual or company,” explained Abel. 

She added that there are also risks that come with moving towards a digital economy, and as such the central bank has to address cybersecurity and ensure policies and agreements are followed. 

The Central Bank of Seychelles will be responsible for issuing licenses to investors in the field. 

“Our strategy is not to be a cashless society but a cash-light one,” said Abel. 

A financial inclusion analyst at the CBS, Brigitte Lucas, said that there is a necessity to introduce disincentives for the usage of paper-based instruments, such as cash and cheques. CBS also wants to put in place incentives to encourage people to use more digital means. 

Giovinela Belle, 62, told SNA that she does not think that this will be easy for older people. 

“It will be easier for the younger generation as they are good with electronics. As for us, even if you are going to explain or show us the process several times, we will make mistakes. Despite this, it is not a bad idea, especially for those who can use it. We should still have the option to pay in cash alongside being able to pay digitally. Being a person who deals with sales in a shop, I love accepting card payments, as you do not have to look for the necessary change and it is faster.” 

On his side, Jade Jules, 23, said that “going digital is a good thing, especially during the pandemic time that we are living in where human contact becomes a risk. Furthermore, doing digital transactions is easier to track and keep a record. When paying in liquidity, you do not always have proof of payment whereas through digital payments, the proof is featured in your bank statement. It would be good to have all shops and services in Seychelles allow for digital payment as some people do not walk around with cash.”  

In Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, the Airtel telecommunication company is already providing an E-money service to its client. Internationally, Paypal, Samsung Pay, and Apple Pay are already well-established and popular E-money service providers. 

Source: Seychelles News Agency