Vodafone has partnered with local micro, small and medium enterprises to provide safer and more convenient service options for customers to make purchases through its mobile money platform – M-Paisa.

This partnership, which was officially launched in Suva today, has been developed with support from Australian-funded Market Development Facility and comes in response to the impact of COVID-19 which has forced businesses to rethink how they engage with customers.

Vodafone’s M-PAiSA is bringing new and improved services to local customers. For example, international remittance, through M-Paisa, has reduced the cost of sending money home, which has seen steady growth from F$2m/month to F$3.5m/month since COVID-19.

“As businesses strive to adapt to the effects of
COVID-19, Australia will continue to support
private sector innovation and the use of technology to help bsuinesses and
individuals adapt. Given the importance of hygiene
and perceived risks around handling cash, this type of cashless payment option
comes at just the right time,” said Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John
Feakes.

This added service to
the Vodafone M-PAISA platform facilitates mobile payments and purchases from
local MSMEs.  This will be initially
rolled out and made available through select local businesses, including The
Merch, Rotisserie Restaurant, Weta Coffee and Cyber Foods.

As an added incentive
to promote greater awareness about the cashless payment platform, these
businesses are offering consumers a 10 percent discount on any purchase when
the payment is made with the M-PAiSA QR code.

“We understand
the effects that COVID-19 has on many Fijians. This promotion will encourage
people to use M-Paisa and get attractive price discounts at some of their
favourite shops”, said Shailendra Prasad, Head of E-Commerce, Vodafone Fiji
Limited.

“We trialed the
10 percent discount with The Merch over the weekend and saw many people take
advantage of the offer whilst appreciating the safer cashless payment. In many
ways, it is easier for small businesses to adopt mobile payment programs
because of the minimal setup costs so small businesses can jump right in,” Mr
Prasad said.

The ease of access
to electronic payment channels such as M-PAiSA, is an important building block
to digital trade. At this time, when less human contact is being encouraged by
health experts, M-PAiSA is also considered safer and more hygienic way to pay
for products and services.  It is also
way to assist small business to do more business as they have been affected by
lockdown and limited trading hours.

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