Published on People Move

Public-Private Partnership Reduces Remittance Fees

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Pacific Islanders have long faced limited choices and exorbitant fees when transferring money to families and friends. Following numerous focus groups and two high-level public-private stakeholder dialogues convened by the World Bank in Sydney, an inter-governmental body was established in Wellington to address the high costs of remittances in the Pacific. It was tasked with identifying public policy solutions and coordinating actions with New Zealand's financial industry.

Close collaboration between the NZ Ministry of Justice and Police, Reserve Bank of NZ, NZAID, the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs and the World Bank brought forward a progressive change in domestic regulation, with NZ Parliamentarians approving a modification to the Financial Transactions Reporting Act. The response from industry was immediate. Westpac, a major commercial bank in the Pacific region, in partnership with VISA International, launched a low-cost, prepaid card (Westpac Express VISA Card) on December 1st in Auckland. It will significantly reduce the costs of sending money from the current level of 15 to 40 percent down to 3 to 4 percent!!


Tomas Martin Ernst

Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network, World Bank

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