My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: 2018

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Sunday, January 7, 2018

How Western Union Cash to Bank Program may boost GK MPay Push if BOJ makes it Mandatory

“The service is gaining traction as customers are indicating that they have greater control over how they use their funds. We are finding a growing number of persons showing a preference for accessing cashless options”

Group CEO of GraceKennedy Limited Don Wehby commenting on Western Union in Jamaica 'cash to account' service

Happy New Year dear readers! Do you receive money via Western Union?

If you do, then you'll be happy to know that you can now have the money sent directly to your Bank Account or your GK MPay Account as reported in the article “Western Union Pushes Bank Accounts Transfers For Remittances”, Published, Sunday January 7, 2018, The Jamaica Gleaner

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Western Union in Jamaica is ramping up its campaign to get customers to send remittances directly to bank accounts. This will not only make life a lot more convenient for recipients but make scamming nearly impossible.

This as Electronics Transactions and Bank Accounts require Picture I.D's to be created, making identifying the recipients quite easy as explained in my blog article entitled “How Electronic Transactions in Jamaica can eliminate Hidden Economy via Universal Consumption Taxation”.

This is a long time in coming as Western Union, which is run by GraceKennedy here in Jamaica, had rolled out their 'cash to account' service since 2016 in five (5) other countries:

1.      United State
2.      United Kingdom
3.      India,
4.      Japan
5.      China

There are now fifty (50) countries where Western Union people can have their remittances sent directly to their Bank Accounts. So does this mean an end to standing in line at its retail outlets? Also, could this be the start of a gradual shift toward Mobile money and

Western Union Cash to Bank Program - GraceKennedy's MPay Push may get a boost if BOJ makes it Mandatory

It depends on how Jamaicans respond. However, they may not have much choice eventually.

Jamaicans have been slow to adopt to GraceKennedy's MPay Mobile Wallet for the reasons as listed in my Geezam blog article entitled “How to get Jamaicans to use Quisk, GK MPay for more than just Phone Credit”.

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This latest option allows any Jamaican using Western Union to send their remittances to any bank account, not just NCB. Transfers depend on the following bits of information relating to the recipient:

1.      Country i.e. Jamaica, USA, Canada
2.      Bank of the recipient
3.      Money transfer limits and conditions
4.      Transfer Fees

Please note that Money transfer limits and conditions and Transfer Fees are similar to those that apply to retail stores as laid out in my blog article entitled “How NCB Quisk Compares to CONEC Mobile Wallet as Jamaica goes Cashless”.

Recipients of remittances can have their money sent to their NCB Bank account, a possible herald of the coming of ATM withdrawals I’d originally predicted would happen in 2016 as noted in my blog article entitled “How NCB Mobile Money by AIS and Quisk heralds Mobile phone ATM Withdrawals by December 2016”.

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This is possible once they call Western Union customer service centre (1-800-325-6000) with their money transfer control number as pointed out by Group CEO of GraceKennedy Limited Don Wehby, quote: “For the receiving customer, we also facilitate them being able to have their remittance sent to their bank account with the deposit direct service. A receiver has to be registered for the deposit direct service, after which they have the choice of calling our customer service centre with their money transfer control number and authorising disbursement to their bank account”.

If their NCB is connected to a GK MPay App, they can receive notifications of the remittances arriving via their GK MPay App, once they're on the Internet. Conversion to cash from the GK MPay App is still cumbersome though; if you don't have a Debit Card you STILL have to go to a Western Union outlet to withdraw cash using your GK MPay App.

So this latest move is a push by GraceKennedy to get more Jamaicans interested in GK MPay while allowing transfer of remittance to NCB and other Bank accounts, effectively putting a damper on scamming as explained in my blog article entitled “How Electronic Transactions in Jamaica can eliminate Hidden Economy via Universal Consumption Taxation”.

I suspect that most Jamaicans, who may still distrust the GK MPay App and banks in general, will still want to line up at retail stores; Western Union in Jamaica has to go viral with their Marketing Strategy to get Jamaicans to see this as a viable option.


But if the Government of Jamaica via the BOJ (Bank of Jamaica) makes it mandatory that all Remittances have to go to a Bank account registered with NIDS (National Identification System) , especially when dealing with the Government as predicted in my blog article entitled “How NIDS coming in January 2018 means Electronic Transactions with GOJ to become standard”, we may see the not only the end of scamming....and the rise of GK MPay.



Thursday, January 4, 2018

How Jamaicans can update their Wireless Router firmware for faster Internet Connections

This is 2018!!!

Time to update your Wi-Fi routers as most of the really good ones allow for firmware update within the web interface. In fact, my list of the best Wireless Routers goes like this:

1.      Linksys 
2.      Netgear 
3.      Asus
4.      TP-Link

The process, called “flashing the firmware”, helps a router work better as suggested in this How to video from CNET.


Resetting your router is also an option that fixes many problems as noted in this video.


In the case of the FLOW Jamaica Arris Modem as described in my blog article entitled “How to reset and change your FLOW Jamaica Arris Modem Wireless Network Name and Password

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But sometimes a router reset doesn’t fix the problem. Problems and bugs may still persist requiring that you upgrade your router’s firmware.

So here’s how you do the manual update of your router’s firmware!

How to update your Router – DIY or AUTO Update options

Most will use a web-based interface and the procedure will go something like this:

1.      Download the firmware from the vendor's support website, as a .zip file.
2.      Open this zip file and copy the firmware file out.
3.      Log into the router's web interface by typing 192.168.1.1 in your computer Browser
4.      Enter the login and password. This is usually written on the bottom of the router but it may also be login = admin and password =admin…..or just blank
5.      Navigate to the section where you can update the firmware usually in the Administration, System, Setup, Advance or Tools area.
6.      Click on the button to browse for the new firmware file
7.      Click on Update (or Upload)
8.      Wait for a few minutes for the process to complete

Let the update process run without interruption as if you unplug/turn the router, you might brick it. If in doubt, follow your Network Vendor's instructions on how to flash their router.
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Most routers have their specific instruction set. In this age of paperless, you may either have to download a *.pdf document or watch their YouTube videos in order to do this, if the instructions do not come in the box. Here’s a handy video on speeding up your Wi-Fi Connection that may also be helpful!


Good to note that many routers have the automatic firmware update function; mighty convenient as all you need to do is let the router download the firmware and update by itself.

Sharing is caring so share this with your other friends!!!