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Date:11/07/11

Dominican Republic Govt Issues Cashless Benefits

The Social Subsidies Administration (ADESS) of the Dominican Republic, as a part of the Solidaridad programme, has been distributing benefits cashlessly, and now serves food, fuel and education rations to over 800,000 people.
In conjunction with local financial institutions and Visa, ADESS provides disbursements on reloadable cards. Van Elder Espinal Martinez, Director General, ADESS, said: “The benefits credited onto the Solidaridad Card allow purchases in the small markets located in the poorer areas of our country.” One of the requirements for merchants to become part of the Solidaridad system is to be as close as possible to the families that need it most, Martinez added. The Card has distributed over 26 billion Pesos since it began in 2004.
“A lot of the costs and risks associated with cash and cheques can be taken out of the system through paperless payments. In emerging markets, we’re looking at financial privileges being extended to the under-banked for the first time, ” said Bill Gajda, Global Head, Visa Mobile.
Gajda stressed the potential of mobile payments as the next step forward from cashless, card-based payments, especially as mobile penetration far outpaces broadband and internet penetration in developing economies. “In both sophisticated and in emerging markets, there is a role for mobile in commerce, to include public sector programmes, whether in identification or disbursements.” In India, a typical emerging market, 92 percent of all consumer-spending is cash-based. While the number of broadband subscribers is only 12.1 million, the number of mobile phone subscribers stands at 771 million. It is projected to hit one billion in 2012, according to statistics released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.



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