Date: February 2016 – December 2018
Grant: USD $565,200
Target: 66,000 accounts
Current reach: N/A
A significant portion of Fiji’s rural and maritime population remain under-banked. This represents an untapped market opportunity for HFC, as a new player in the banking market. The high cost of setting up and maintaining infrastructure for branches and ATMs in rural areas is unfeasible for the relatively small populations they are to service, hence HFC’s approach will leverage off an existing provider’s distribution network infrastructure to access this market, facilitating faster scale up and penetration and providing many rural Fijians safe formal means to save for the future and access credit.
PFIP’s support will enable HFC to integrate its banking system, enabling customers to transact using their HFC bank accounts with Vodafone’s M-PAiSA (mobile wallet). This offering will allow customers to carry out transactions either via their mobile phones anywhere (and anytime) within Vodafone’s network, or through Vodafone point of service (POS) machines available in more than 1,000 outlets around Fiji through an extensive EPay agent network. The offering has the potential to reach remote, often low income communities with mobile and/or branchless banking. The extensiveness of Vodafone’s established network and MPAiSA mobile wallet is a key differentiator in the Fijian market, where the majority of financial service providers are struggling to expand agent network models to reach rural areas.
HFC is partnering with Vodafone and EPay to offer Agency Banking services that will efficiently serve this previously underserved segment in an efficient and cost effective manner.
HFC’s Agent Banking services will be provided by Vodafone’s current M-PAiSA agent partner, EPay. These agents will conduct everyday transactions for HFC clients and will also make referrals for additional products, including loans. This will be facilitated through Vodafone’s established mobile network and MPAiSA system currently deployed at retail outlets and convenience stores Fiji-wide, providing customers with a range of services that clients would otherwise receive only in a bank branch.
About HFC and Vodafone
Home Finance Company Limited trading as HFC Bank (“HFC”) is a duly incorporated locally owned bank offering Retail and Commercial Banking and Lending products in Fiji. HFC commenced Retail Banking in March 2014 and since has managed to open over 9,000 transactional customer accounts which currently make use of electronic, internet and in-branch banking channels. In an effort to increase its reach, HFC has also engaged in an interchange agreement with Westpac Bank for the use of ATM’s and EFTPOS machines.
Vodafone Fiji Limited (“Vodafone”) is a 100% locally owned entity offering a comprehensive suite of mobile telecommunications products and services. It operates under a franchised partner market arrangement with Vodafone Group Plc. Vodafone is the leading mobile communications company in Fiji with an estimated 85% market share and over 750,000 subscribers on its network.
The M-PAiSA mobile money service was launched in Fiji in June 2010. The service is similar to the highly successful and widely publicized M-Pesa mobile money in Kenya. Currently, over 450,000 customers are registered for the M- PAiSA service of which over 380,000 have activated their account and around 45,000 actively use the service on a monthly basis.