Perceptions of Digital Financial Services in Rural Fiji

Glen Finau, Nacanieli Rika, Jale Samuwai, James McGoon

Abstract


This article examines rural dwellers’ perceptions of digital financial services (DFS) to identify which factors may enhance or impede their adoption. The article is based on a survey and follow-up interviews in rural Fijian communities with relatively low income levels. In Fiji, DFS are provided by mobile network operators, either individually or in collaboration with commercial banks. The provision of these services is consistent with policies of the Fijian government and The Reserve Bank of Fiji, which advocate financial inclusion as a means of promoting economic growth and enabling citizens to more efficiently receive remittances and welfare payments. However, the survey findings indicate that DFS uptake is hindered by agents’ lack of liquidity and the implicit costs that agents impose on consumers. In addition, consumers tend to fully spend the funds received through mobile money, but fail to use their mobile phones for saving purposes.

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