Editor, The Tribune
Bahamian retail businesses truly seem to want to remain in the backwater of the digital age. A Google search says that Visa does around 1,700 transactions per second on average (based on a calculation derived from the official claim of over 150 million transactions per day). That is only one card and obviously a global count. Does anyone, even here in the Bahamas, think that someone is scribbling down the National Insurance Number of the user, or their driver licence number, before accepting these charges. But in the good old Bahamas, and Nassau in particular, the speed and ease of paying with your credit or debit card is smashed against the wall when the cashier says “Can I see your ID please”. And then proceeds to manually transcribe the identity card number onto the cash register receipt. Quicker to pay cash and be on your way.
Every benefit of digitalisation is now lost, and I wonder if these business owners think that if something is amiss, would they or the police be able to locate the person by going to National Insurance Board, or Road Traffic, to find out where the person’s last place of abode was? That, of course, is if the ID is for the person presenting the card, or for the person whose wallet was stolen, and the ID now matches the name on the card anyway.
I have a friend who best describes this layer of Bahamian security, likening it to a man who keeps his trousers up, using first a belt, plus a pair of braces or suspenders, and in case all else fails, a piece of string.
Dear me. Can we give this nonsense a pass and let the issuer accept or decline the card electronically, and hopefully the owner will advise the issuer as soon as their card is stolen. The entire world economy would grind to a halt if every credit or debit card purchase had to be vetted by the receiver. And how would we buy anything from Amazon or eBay at the far end of the Internet somewhere ? Do these business owners travel outside the Bahamas ? Do they know how the rest of the world works ? Geeez.
BRUCE G RAINE
March 12, 2019