The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji, Ariff Ali says mobile money payments have increased from around $100 million in 2016 to more than $700 million in the first 10 months of 2021.
While speaking at the 23rd Attorney General’s Conference on the topic Digital Payments Reform – Understanding the National Payment System, Ali says the public’s confidence in mobile money wallets has improved significantly and this is reflected in customers depositing over $130 million in their mobile wallets so far this year from less than $10 million annually 2 years ago.
Ali says internet banking recorded an almost 3-fold increase in the number of transactions in the past 5 years to 3.5 million transactions valued at $1.6 billion. The Governor also shared that personal remittances has been Fiji’s largest foreign exchange earner for 2020 and 2021 given the impact of COVID-19 on tourism.
Ali says personal remittances has grown strongly, reaching a new record last year and is on track for another record high this year.
He says mobile remittances as a share of total inward remittances has also increased significantly to over 20% in the year to October 2021, compared to a share of 11.2% in 2020 and just 1% 5 years ago.
Ali highlighted that the National Payment System Act 2021 passed by Parliament in February this year grants powers to RBF to regulate and supervise all payment systems in Fiji.
He adds that there was widespread consultation on the law and it is not unique that the Reserve Bank of Fiji is responsible for payment system oversight as this is common practice across all jurisdictions where central banks are responsible for monetary and financial stability, which are dependent on payment system stability.
Governor Ali says a sound and well-functioning payment system ensures financial stability, facilitates economic activity and supports sustainable economic growth. He informed the participants that gross payments cleared and settled through FIJICLEAR or the large-value automated payment system that the RBF operates, which includes the 6 commercial banks as participants, totalled around $180 billion in 2020, more than double the value of payments that was settled 10 years ago.
Ali says cash withdrawals through ATMs was on a steady rise over the past decade, growing to approximately $3.2 billion in 2018 but has been on a downward trend recently.
The RBF Governor says the turnaround is explained by an increase in EFTPOS payments as well as other forms of digital payments.
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