TechInPacific – Financial service in the form of mobile money like M-PAiSA has gained a gradual increase of users for years after launched in 2010.
UNDCF looks at the real impact M-PAiSA has given to its users using the Impact Pathways methodology. More about it here.
An interview UNDCF conducted with long time users of the service revealed the service’s impact on individuals and communities.
Marama, whose encounter with M-PAiSA has helped her start her loan business, first came into contact with the service after she had a large sum that she had to keep somewhere on the house. Fearing theft or other people in the village knowing she had cash so that they’d ask for a loan from her, Marama decided to open an account for the service to secure and save more money in the future.
Marama’s business was born after she let her account be the medium for other people’s transactions. This happened during the time Electricity Fiji switched to a prepaid model where users can pay digitally. People paid her a dollar commission to get their fix of electricity.
“I tell them how easy it is all the time, but they just don’t do it,” says Marama when asked about people’s reluctance in making their accounts.
Now she makes weekly payment of FJ $25, and FJ $20 for loan repayment and an additional FJ $5 to her savings account. This was after her initiative to approach South Pacific Business Development (SPDB) for a loan, which allows her more of working capital that lets her top up once a week while selling twice of her credits.
Her business has motivated her to become a verified M-PAiSA agent.
In Vaseva’s case, she was a widow when her existing loan business experienced a growth spurt due to her focus on digital transactions.
She used to offer short term loans in the community together with her late husband, who worked at Vodafone for years, in which they opened an account of M-PAiSA the same year of its launch.
Vaseva targets people who have accounts already so that money deliverance and collection are secured and time constraint-free. She completes the cycle of a transaction as an intermediary that can receive cash digitally, especially from Fijians delivering from overseas, and deliver the cash in-person to her community.
Both Marama and Vaseva’s experience with the digital financial service, according to UNDCF, are mirroring the potential of how a service can be utilized with the right mindset while very close to achieving SDG objectives, such as SDG 1: No poverty. Now moving on to SDG 5: Gender Equality, wherein this objective, women started personalizing privacy control for their financial endeavors. SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities applies to a decreased risk of physical harm when digital transactions take place, as such in the two women stories.