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.