A touch-free payment platform for the maritime industry has been launched by Secure Seas, marrying the welfare of the seafarer with significant benefits for employers.
The platform provides seafarers with basic facilities the rest of us take for granted: full access to their funds in their preferred currency, use of an international, non-jurisdictional bank account and debit card to withdraw cash or transfer funds home, and the ability to transfer payments via PC or smartphone.
Secure Seas CEO James McCully has been with shipping charity Stella Maris for the last 10 years, getting a thorough understanding of the challenges of maintaining seafarer centres and the people they support. The idea of this card emerged, he says, as a way to both save seafarers’ money and also fund seafarer centres and their employees.
Seafarers suffer from the unreasonable and high cost of foreign exchange transfers
“The problem faced by seafarers is the unreasonable and high cost of foreign exchange transfers compared with the rest of the population, resulting in an effective loss of their wages in the FX transaction,” McCully points out.
Meanwhile, the challenge facing seafarers’ centre are that it is becoming increasingly difficult to entice volunteers, and the costs of maintaining these centres is constantly increasing.
“I came up with the idea of a seafarer’s credit card back in 2011: something that would end up leaving a greater portion of their wages in the seafarers’ accounts, and at the same time – through FX transactions, which are considerably less than traditional interbank fees and transactions – also give back to the welfare providers,” McCully recounts.
Secure Seas aims to have at least 250,000 seafarers on its system within five years.
Secure Seas has appointed Cyprus-based Evrostia Financial Services for representation in Greece and Cyprus. The company is now engaging with owners and managers from Singapore, Japan and other European countries.