Global maritime payment solutions company MarTrust, a subsidiary of Marcura, has announced the launch of a new ‘e-wallet’ and card, a next-generation payment solution for the maritime industry that optimises the payroll process for ship owners.
It enables crews to be paid quicker, compared to the traditional banking routes, and provides them with complete control of their funds and online purchases with reduced risks and lower transaction costs.
The ability to quickly transfer money to anyone they need to at any time – in particular sending much-needed financial support back to their families – will alleviate some of the monetary challenges of being at sea for extended periods, enhancing their welfare and wellbeing.
For ship owners and operators, MarTrust’s e-wallet and corporate card also reduce the Cash-to-Master (CTM) requirement by as much as 80%, and therefore the amount of cash that is needed on board a vessel. This mitigates the security risk for the asset and crew, as well as significantly improving working capital. Digitalising and simplifying the payroll and CTM process reduces significant costs and time, ensures compliance, and online transactions are protected with the latest 3D, industry-grade security features.
Currently, the shipping industry relies upon multiple urgent, cross-currency and cross border microtransactions to ensure smooth and reliable trading. In conjunction with this, the regulatory landscape and sanctions on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) are becoming increasingly complex.
In addition, the current, outdated system that vessels use for paying salaries to crews and invoices for ship chandlers, agents and other suppliers require a significant amount of cash to be stored on board. This generates a considerable security risk, as well as creating administrative overheads, including expensive transaction and foreign exchange (FX) costs, which can be as much as 3% to 5%.
MarTrust’s integrated payment solution combines maritime experience with modern e-wallet and pre-paid card technology, enabling companies to transfer funds to multiple accounts and execute payday and CTM transactions with complete control, transparency and security. The e-wallet can be accessed via a web portal or mobile app anywhere and at any time and can be seamlessly integrated into existing systems. From there, funds can be easily and securely transferred direct to crew to pay salaries, bonuses, overtime and cash advances.
The e-wallet and debit card also reduce the need for seafarers to manage or store significant amounts of cash, providing increased security and peace of mind that their funds are safe. By using the debit card, cash can be accessed at any Mastercard supported ATM or bank teller around the world, and the card can be topped up in up to eight different currencies providing complete flexibility.
The e-wallet will also include a new Salary on Demand service, which enables seafarers to track and use their income at anytime and anywhere, and align it with their expenses, further improving their financial wellbeing and welfare. Additionally, it also helps shipping companies optimise their cash flow, eliminate the administrative costs and pains associated with maintaining salary advances, and save money on banking transfer fees and other charges associated with CTM payments to advance salaries to seafarers.
“The disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic to day-to-day operations has further highlighted the need to rethink how cash is used and has accelerated the demand for digital solutions to improve shipboard operating and managing processes, especially paying cash to crews and for settling on board bills,” said Errikos Andreakos, Chief Commercial Officer of MarTrust.
“Seafarers have experienced unprecedented hardships over the past 18 months, stranded on board their vessels for significant periods without being able to get home. However, our new e-wallet and debit card at least now ensures that they can get much-needed funds back to their families quickly and securely, and with no annual fees and at reduced FX rates. This can make a significant difference to improving crew welfare at a time of real challenge for all seafarers, driving retention for ship owners and operators.”