National Bank and Digicel offers remittance linked savings product

 

Digicel CEO Farid Mohammed, NBS CEO Tuuu Amaramo Sialaoa and Annamaria of the NBS

APIA, SAMOA – FRIDAY 23 MARCH 2018: The National Bank of Samoa (NBS) and Digicel Samoa have announced a partnership to develop the next generation of cost-effective and easy mobile banking and remittance services for Samoan customers.

Digicel will work 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% use formal financial services. However, more than half the population of Samoa receive remittances on a regular basis.

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.

“In line with NBS’s mission to digitally enable our customers, this project will help Samoans receive money sent from family members overseas directly into their bank accounts via the Digicel Mobile Money Platform. Customers will soon have control and access over their money via their mobile phone at any time,” said NBS CEO Tu’u’u Amaramo Sialaoa.

“As a Samoan owned Bank, NBS understands the challenges faced by our customers to access remittances and our efforts to provide digital services that will help them access remittances easily, our customers deserve the best,” he said.

Digicel Samoa Ltd CEO, Farid Mohammed said “We are moving into the Digital World and this partnership with NBS will allow Digicel 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. This will provide the customers a much more efficient and convenient way of receiving and withdrawing their remittances.”

PFIP’s Programme Manager Bram Peters said that the new service will not only allow Digicel customers to have a bank account, but will 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.