GBTI VISA card to enable online shopping By Nicosia Smith
Stabroek News
November 29, 2006

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The convenience of online shopping will now be possible through the pre-paid Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry Limited (GBTI) VISA Travel Classic Card which will be available from December 1.

This is the second pre-paid card launched within months, the first being the VISA Travel Money (VTM) by Republic Bank (Guyana) Ltd.

GBTI Credit Director John Tracey in an interview with Stabroek News yesterday said that GBTI recognizes that Guyanese have changed their lifestyle - travelling more for instance - and have more spending power.

Tracey was also quick to point out that the way people carry money now is changing.

"The world is going plastic because it is safer."

The credit director said that the use of traveller's cheques is being phased out.

Tracey noted that plastic is highly competitive in comparison to the traveller's cheques since it is more convenient.

The GBTI VISA Travel Classic Card will carry the Kaieteur Falls logo just as the GBTI debit card, because the bank feels that this symbol is readily identified with Guyana and is one of its most famous tourist attractions. An official launching of the card is set for tomorrow. With the card one can access monies from ATM machines overseas which carry the VISA Plus sign and can shop, book cruises, accommodation and car rentals online. The GBTI VISA Travel Classic Card can only be used while funds are available on the card, since it is a pre-paid card.

The card can be purchased for a minimum of US$50 and a maximum of US$5,000. Each person is allowed to purchase two cards. Each cardholder is also allowed to have a maximum of five co-applicants where the cardholder can purchase up to five cards to allow family members or others access to their account but the statement of account will be sent to the original cardholder. The card costs US$10 plus 0.5% of the total face value of the card being purchased. For example, if one decides to purchase a GBTI VISA Travel Classic Card valued at US$200 the charge will be 0.5% of US$200 (US$1) plus US$10. Each additional card is US$8, a replacement card is US$15 and renewal fees are US$7. A card has a life of two years after which the renewal fee applies. The reloading fee for the card is also 0.5%. These fees are subject to change without notice.

Senior Manager Vidya Singh, of Operations indicated that approximately two years ago GBTI initiated the process to begin offering the pre-paid service.

Tracey noted that the final approval from VISA did not take a long time but VISA had to complete certain protocols to ensure that all the merchants worldwide know that GBTI will now be offering the service. Some 21,000 financial institutions offer the VISA card service.

Persons over the age of 16 with valid identification can apply for the card and no account is required with the bank.

The Republic Bank pre-paid Visa Travel Money (VTM) card allows users to access money from ATMs and stores worldwide that accept VISA but customers cannot use it online. A person can acquire a total of five VTMs and the limit is also US$5,000.

Over 25 million merchants worldwide accept the VISA cards and cash can be obtained at more than one million VISA Plus ATMs in the USA and in 145 countries around the world. Next year GBTI is also expected to launch a VISA credit card.