Mobile money ease

From left: Digicel Samoa chief commercial officer Deepak Khanna, Digicel chief executive officer Farid Mohammed, National Bank of Samoa chief executive officer Tu'u'u Amaramo Sialaoa and NBS chief financial officer Mariaanna Rasch after signing the offici

From left: Digicel Samoa chief commercial officer Deepak Khanna, Digicel chief executive officer Farid Mohammed, National Bank of Samoa chief executive officer Tu'u'u Amaramo Sialaoa and NBS chief financial officer Mariaanna Rasch after signing the offici

EASY mobile banking and remittance services for Samoans can now be more cost-effective through a new partnership between the National Bank of Samoa (NBS) and Digicel Samoa.

The partnership will see Digicel working with NBS to integrate its Mobile Money platform with NBS’ banking systems.

This will allow beneficiaries to transfer their money received from family and friends from their Digicel Mobile Money wallet into their NBS bank account.

This new digital financial service is funded by the United Nations Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP), which aims to improve the adoption and usage of financial services in Samoa where only half the adult population are financially included. It is estimated that about 15 per cent use formal financial services.

However, more than half the population of Samoa receives remittances on a regular basis.

According to NBS chief executive officer Tu’u’u Amaramo Sialaoa, the initiative was in line with NBS’s mission to digitally enable its customers.

“This project will help Samoans receive money sent from family members overseas directly into their bank accounts via the Digicel Mobile Money Platform,” Mr Sialaoa said in a statement.

“Customers will soon have now have more control and access over their money via their mobile phone at any time.”

Using an innovation lab model, the project will research and test the viability of this digital platform, and Mobile Money cash merchant network.

This will help determine what combination of products, price, customer experience, marketing, and engagement will drive usage and build the components of a successful financial service delivery model for scale.

Over a period of 18 months, the innovation lab will develop banking payment products, such as prepaid power, airtime top-up and payment for government services which over time could improve the adoption and use of digital financial services in Samoa.

Digicel Samoa Ltd chief executive officer Farid Mohammed said they were moving into the digital world and this partnership with NBS allowed them to bring to its customers another innovative service.

“This will be a first for the Pacific region where customers will be able to transfer funds between their Mobile Money Wallet and their bank account,” Mr Mohammed said.

“This will provide the customers a much more efficient and convenient way of receiving and withdrawing their remittances.”

PFIP’s program manager Bram Peters said the new service would not only allow Digicel customers to have a bank account, but would also motivate them to save and for NBS customers to use digital channels to improve their financial lives.

“Digital financial services are the cost-effective way to reach the unbanked especially for rural dwellers and women. We believe that this new service has the potential to impact 10,000 new customers and in time could be rolled out nationwide making it easier for Samoans to access financial services,” he added.

PFIP’s work in Samoa has been funded by the New Zealand Government.

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