February 19, 2019
Nukualofa, Tonga – A new innovative partnership launched today will make it easier for Tongans living in New Zealand and migrant workers to send money home, as well as increase access to other financial services.
The Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) and the Tonga Development Bank (TDB) are working together to increase access of financial services to more Tongans especially women and children.
In recent years, international remittances have been subject to anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations and enforcement practices (derisking) that has made it quite difficult for Pacific Islanders living abroad to send money home.
In 2017, in response to derisking, TDB offered an innovative and streamlined system to make payments to Tonga through the launch of its remittance product, Ave Pa’anga Pau. The product works through a partnership between Kiwi Bank in New Zealand and the TDB in Tonga. The process is very simple, sign up is done online by registering the account and sending scanned ‘Know Your Customer’ documents to TDB along with a mobile number. The recipient must have an account with TDB. The sender then purchases a voucher through Kiwi Bank and the money is transferred through internet banking in Tongan dollars to the recipients TDB account.
Currently, the product has around 1,000 registered customers and is the cheapest remittance option in the market. Through a grant and technical assistance, PFIP hopes to broaden this remittance product to include other financial services like savings, insurance and school fees payments. PFIP support will allow TDB to develop new financial services and test delivery modes for improved customer experience through the Ave Pa’anga Pau platform.
TBD Chief Executive Officer Leta Kami said that the new partnership would ensure greater financial access for Tongans. “Using our existing Ave Pa’anga Pau platform, we will be able to offer more digitalized financial services that will make it easier for Tongans living abroad to not only send money home but to conduct other transactions like paying for school fees, insurance for their families, or simply to have money saved up for when they return home from the seasonal workers scheme.”
“In our experience, having more use cases drives users to adopt and continue to actively use financial services. We are excited about this partnership as it builds on TBDs innovative platform and will help to increase financial access and the insurance penetration rate in Tonga,” said PFIP Deputy Programme Manager Krishnan Narasimhan.
PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme that has helped over two million Pacific islanders gain access to financial services and financial education. It achieves these results by funding innovation with financial services and delivery channels, supports policy and regulatory initiatives, and the empowerment of consumers.
It is jointly administered by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receives funding from the Australian Government, the European Union and the New Zealand Government. PFIP operates from the UNDP Pacific Office in Suva, Fiji and has offices in Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands.
For more information or media inquiries please contact:
Erica Lee – Communications Associate