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BANKING SERVICE : HFC Bank Partnership Introduces Rural, Maritime Services

A partnership between the HFC Bank, Vodafone Fiji, the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) and Epay could see 66,000 Fijians in the rural and maritime areas potential beneficiaries of a
30 Sep 2017 20:05
BANKING SERVICE : HFC Bank Partnership Introduces Rural, Maritime Services
Suva Market Vendors Association committee member Akesa Lewamotu, Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme acting manager Krishnan Narasimhan, Vodafone Fiji Head of Commerce Shailendra Prasad and HFC Bank chairperson Tom Ricketts on September 29, 2017. Photo: Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme

A partnership between the HFC Bank, Vodafone Fiji, the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) and Epay could see 66,000 Fijians in the rural and maritime areas potential beneficiaries of a new financial service.

The service which was launched yesterday. It allows customers to carry out transactions via their mobile phones anywhere, anytime through the Vodafone M-PAiSA agent network.

PFIP provided a grant to assist HFC Bank develop its technology platform and integrate with Vodafone’s M-PAiSA mobile wallet to provide agency and mobile banking services.

This offering will allow customers to carry out transactions either via Vodafone Fiji’s mobile network or through Vodafone’s point of service (POS) machines available in more than 1000 outlets around Fiji through an extensive agent network (non-bank retail outlets offering banking and payment services).

Customers will be able to withdraw, deposit, transfer funds, make payments and point of sale purchases.

Agency banking has the means to penetrate underserved areas, increasing the access to, and availability of, financial products and services without having to invest in ‘bricks and mortar’ bank branch infrastructure.

Vodafone’s agents will act as ATMs, delivering financial services using devices such as Smart point-of-sale (POS) terminals or mobile phones to process real-time transactions.

In addition, the agency platform will be used for account opening and lodging of loan applications, a standout feature different from other agency banking models.

HFC Bank chairperson Tom Ricketts said: “This Agency Banking model makes a leap forward in the way financial services are offered in Fiji, we being Fiji’s only local bank are proud to be at the forefront and the first in Fiji to bring this service to our people.

“Rural, semi urban and unbanked customers will be able to open and maintain a bank account from the luxury of their neighborhood convenience stores who are Vodafone retail outlets, once this project is fully commissioned.”

PFIP acting programme manager Krishnan Narasimhan said this agency banking partnership would greatly help towards increasing financial inclusion in Fiji.

This is given the significant portion of Fiji’s rural and maritime population, especially women and youth, still underserved by financial services.

“The reach and accessibility offered through mobile phones can be leveraged for greater financial inclusion and lead to new use cases for other services like e-ticketing, mobile top ups and payment of bills,” Mr Narasimhan said.

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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