[cellular news] Vodafone Fiji yesterday started pilot testing its much awaited M-PAiSA Mobile Money Transfer service. Vodafone clients will be able to deposit and withdraw cash with approved Vodafone agents in Fiji, send money directly onto others mobile phones, buy recharge or airtime and also receive money from overseas directly onto their Vodafone mobiles.
The pilot involves Vodafone staff and their immediate families and a select group of individuals who will get a chance to trial the system for the next few weeks when the service is expected to be launched nationally.
The Vodafone Fiji M-PAiSA service was inspired by the M-Pesa, launched in early 2007 in Kenya by Safaricom in partnership with Vodafone Group. M-Pesa in Kenya now has over seven million subscribers.
In Fiji, because of the geographic spread and lack of economies of scale, providing banking and financial services to the rural sector has always been a challenge. Without banking services, economic activity in the remote rural areas has been limited to subsistence levels.
This pilot project received financial and technical support from the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP) which helps to bring sustainable financial services to unbanked Pacific islanders. "This is an important step in bringing access to safe and affordable financial services to the estimated 50% of Fijian households that are unbanked," commented Tillman Bruett, the Technical Advisor of PFIP. "We are supportive of a number of branchless banking initiatives in the Pacific and congratulate Vodafone Fiji on this piloting this service."
Vodafone Tests Mobile Money Service in Fiji