Mastercard and Square bring digital payments to Falkland Islands

Square and Mastercard are partnering with the Falkland Islands Government to help small businesses in the territory implement card and digital payments.

The project will help retailers and small business move from a cash-only system to more streamlined digital transactions.

The Falkland Islands lie 8,000 miles from London in the South-West Atlantic ocean, where penguins outnumber people by more than 100:1.

Businesses on the islands have been held back from signing up for merchant accounts to accept cards and have funds settled into their accounts by a range of banking and compliance issues.

Card payment machines have also been difficult to install and maintain in such a remote location. With only one cash machine and bank branch on the Islands, residents - and the tens of thousands of annual tourists - were reliant on cash and would have to queue to take out notes or pay with international currencies, with a number of businesses missing out on sales.

The partnership is aimed at resolving these issues, with Mastercard connecting the Falkland Islands Government to Square, helping sellers access the bank accounts needed for payments settlement.

Tim Waggott, financial secretary for the Falkland Islands Government, said: "We have been a cash-heavy society for many years, but with increasing visitor numbers, we knew we needed to help our local businesses to make the shift to card payments.”

He added: “With the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s clearly an uncertain time for our business community, but they are resilient and used this time to get set up for the future."

The Mastercard partnership has also onboarded businesses to Square’s mobile point of sale network, giving them Square Readers to take payments and to integrate the latest Mastercard technology.

Jack Dorsey, chief executive and co-founder of Square and Twitter, said: “Running a business is always hard, and these business owners have the added challenge of being in one of the most remote places on earth.

"Connecting the Falklands is a big step in creating a more inclusive global economy.”

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