12 Feb 2008

Rural ni-Vanuatu to get access to banking services through EFTPOS

4:48 pm on 12 February 2008

Eftpos terminals are set to join motorcycle couriers in providing an Asian Development Bank micro-finance scheme to rural Vanuatu.

An ADB Project Team Leader, Milovan Lucich, says the introduction of eftpos terminals in village trade-stores will create a branchless banking system that will give many rural people access to a modern banking facilities for the first time.

"People haven't had access to banks, so they've been forced to bury their money in milo cans under the ground and the money often rots and people can't get access to it. We found that teachers out in the outer islands in order to get their salaries often had to take two days to travel backwards and forward to receive their salary."

At present only 13 percent of the rural adult population have bank accounts and it's estimated that another 92,000 would make use of them if they were available.

Up until now the micro-finance scheme has depended on National Bank of Vanuatu staff travelling for up to three hours by motorcycle to provide locals with loans.

Mr Lucich says over time the new eftpos system, which allows users to deposit, withdraw and transfer funds, will become self-financing.