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Ezibank users can now use Digicel’s mobile money platform to bank

Apia, Samoa – Accessibility and the belief that they cannot afford to save, has been two of Samoa’s biggest impediments to financial inclusion in Samoa.

With only 39% of the population having any form of access to financial service, a new product released today could be key to reducing Samoa’s unbanked populations.

Ezibank, is the National Bank of Samoa’s (NBS) newest product on the market that connects Digicel’s mobile money platform to NBS customers bank account.  EziBank combines nbs basic banking services with other payment services available through Digicel Mobile Money.

Funded through a grant from the United Nation’s Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme, the product allows customers to check their bank account balance, receive remittances straight into their bank account, make deposits and withdrawls between their Digicel and NBS account.  This can be done on all types of mobile phones using a USSD menu.

In launching the product, New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa Mr Nick Hurley said the product would offer Samoans an easy option to receive remittances especially from family members residing in New Zealand and could be the means by which Samoans adopt a savings culture.

NBS Chief Executive Officer Mr Tu'u'u Amaramo Sialaoa said NBS was leveraging digital financial technology to deliver better services for its customers.

“These new services would reduce the cost of transacting for our customers and would also mean that they would not need to travel long distances to the nearest bank where they would normally wait in a que to conduct basic transactions.  As a locally owned bank, our goal with financial inclusion is to provide nationwide access to safe and convenient financial products and services to the unbanked in Samoa,” he said.

PFIP’s Samoa-based Financial Inclusion Coordinator Iris Kissiti said with a mobile penetration rate of 78% of the population, using digital financial services was the appropriate channel to reach Samoa’s unbanked especially those in the rural areas.

She said that Digicel had a reasonably well distributed agent network across Samoa that would help in distribution and reaching potential customers.

The system is accessible via the Digicel Network short-code *888#. Registered customers get to see option 6 on the menu which gives them access to their EziBank account number attached to their mobile number.

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

About National Bank of Samoa
National Bank of Samoa is a licenced Bank in Samoa that operates to provide Samoans with greater access to banking services via new media such as mobile phones, internet banking and smarter ATM’s. It also has goals to facilitate a positive change in Samoan's attitude and approach to saving and investment, and to lower the costs of banking in Samoa resulting in lower loan rates and a greater return on savings.

For more information

Marianna Rasch - Chief Financial Officer
Phone: +685 776 8334   Email: mrasch@nbs.ws    Website:  http://www.nbs.ws

About PFIP

PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme that has helped 1.78 million low-income Pacific islanders gain access to financial services and financial education. It achieves these results by funding innovation with financial services and delivery channels, supporting policy and regulatory initiatives, and empowering consumers.

PFIP operates from the UNDP Pacific Office in Suva, Fiji and has offices in Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands.  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.

For more information
Erica Lee - Communications Associate   
Phone: +679 3227538    Email: Erica.lee@undp.org     Website: http://www.pfip.org

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NBS with Digicel