Business Owners in Latin America and the Caribbean Capitalize on Tourism Spend by Going Cashless

With the growing competition to capture tourism spend, small businesses are finding new ways to differentiate themselves and improve the service to their customers. An example of this can be found in Marino Santana, a taxi driver in Punta Cana, who was able to meet his clients’ increasing demands for faster and safer payment options and increase his sales simply by accepting cards. Marino is the latest business owner to be featured in MasterCard’s Cashless Pioneers global campaign, which highlights the impact of electronic payments among businesses around the world.

“International travelers have come to expect card payment options; many of them are used to paying with plastic in their home country and don’t like to carry cash,” said Deanna Canedo, Vice President of Acceptance for MasterCard’s GeoCentral division, who introduced Santana’s story at the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association Marketplace Conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica. “More and more merchants in the Caribbean are noticing this trend and making the switch in order to better cater to their clients’ needs. Not having the card payment option can represent the loss of a sale, so it’s encouraging to see more merchants adapting the technology.”

In addition, the executive added that due to the tourism industry’s strong contribution to the economies in the Caribbean, it makes sense for MasterCard to provide the support and infrastructure to continue to maximize the industry’s potential and to promote the growth of businesses of all sizes. Marino Santana is just one of the numerous taxi drivers in Punta Cana that has partnered with MasterCard to extend credit facilities to cardholders, both local and for those visiting the destination. With this agreement, MasterCard users using this taxi fleet may pay transportation services through an innovative mobile card reader, without a minimum fee. Lastly, the executive added that MasterCard has experienced significant growth in the number of SMEs that accept cards in the Caribbean in 2013, and expect it to continue growing in 2014.

“This initiative is a true example of our commitment to support the development of tourism in the Caribbean through partnerships and innovative offerings,” added Canedo.

Cashless Pioneers is a video series by MasterCard that seeks to highlight stories of merchants around the world who are strengthening their business and providing better services through the acceptance of electronic payments. The program was launched as a global campaign in 2011, and so far, close to 10 success stories have been released in Latin America and the Caribbean.