As a boy, Mohan Beckford’s mother would send him to collect payments from members of her “pardner” savings group, and to deliver payments to the member whose turn it was to receive the “pardner draw”. Digital Pawdna coming
It seems the long distances he had to travel back then still irks him today.
“When I was growing up, my mom was in a lot of “pardners”, and I would have to be the one to walk go ‘Whoywhoy’ (a far location) to deliver that pardner”, Beckford quipped.
Inspired by the traditional “pardner “plan, Beckford, founder of Next Step Digital Solutions (NSDS), has spearheaded the development of MyPaadna, a digital “pardner” in which all the activities are done online.
Mohan Beckford, founder and chief vision officer of Next Step Digital Solutions (centre), in conversation with Jermaine Reid, attorney-at-law (left) and Raymond Pryce, politician and environmental activist.
Speaking at NSDS sixth anniversary celebrations at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston last Thursday, the new “pardner” system, which is to be launched soon, includes features such as registration; the approval of the “banker” and members; the number of members; and dates, frequency and amount of draws.
In a traditional pardner, a popular informal savings system in Jamaica and other countries, the “banker” is responsible for collecting the “hands” or payments from each member and paying over the draw to a particular member for that month or for the agreed interval.
MyPaadna enables members to accumulate a lump sum of cash without having to apply for a loan from a bank or credit union, for example.
Of interest is that the order of the draws in the online “pardner” is chosen at random.
“The system does a lottery and decides who gets first, second and third draw and so forth”, Beckford noted.
The serial digital entrepreneur with over 12 years of experience says his “pardner” will eliminate the inefficiencies of the old system.
“No one on the back-end of the system has access to the banking details of members in the pardner…No one has to call you to tell you to pay your “pardner” because the system already knows the frequency of your payment and just takes it out when it’s due … it sends you a notification, and you get a receipt”, Beckdord said.
Clients and well-wishers at the sixth-anniversary function for Next Step Digital Solutions.
There is also a chat feature for pardner members to communicate with each other. The “pardner” is in US currency, allowing members to be in Jamaica or overseas.
“So you don’t have to call Patsy to remind her to pay her “pardner”. You don’t have to drag your son out of the house to send him down the road. We have eliminated all of that”, Beckford said.
He said two rounds of tests were successfully done in diaspora communities in North America.
“Now we want to bring our generation into the fold of everything. All you have to do is put your debit card number into the system. It is very secure”, he added.