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Relief from High Remittance Costs – Here Now!

Relief from High Remittance Costs – Here Now!

Prime Minister Helen Clark’s announcement at the Pacific Islands Forum, that regulatory changes were being considered to help lower the cost of remit fees to the Pacific Islands, has been met with interest by specialist fund transfer operator Pan Pacific Transfers Ltd.

The Government, in line with World Bank wishes, are aiming to reduce costs for migrant workers in NZ sending money back to the Islands.

In a statement issued by PanPac, GM Nick Lissette says they have “been there, done that” and already smashed the target set by the Government of 5 -7% fee per send by 2009. “We have already lowered the cost of remittances to Samoa by over 60% since entry into the market and are currently charging a NZ$9 transfer fee.” PanPac have also offered more competitive exchange rates than banks and, importantly, improved service delivery.

“You’re probably asking, is it creditable? And how is it achieved?” says Nick Lissette.

“We utilise an independent system, which immediately unshackles us from the costs traditional funds transfer operators and banks have to bear with their networks, as well as substantially improving service delivery for needy recipients of this cash”. This plus a combination of strategic alliances and close liaison with the Pacific community have enabled PanPac to significantly change price and performance barriers.

Inspired by research published by Waikato University Professor John Gibson that highlighted the fact that remittance fees in the Pacific were among the highest in the world, and encouraged by the World Bank in Sydney, PanPac embarked on a process of consultation with the Pacific Island community to understand their concerns with the existing facilities and their desire for a simpler, cheaper way of sending money home.

The result has included the recent announcement of an agreement with retailer DTR (30 stores nationwide) to become the principle merchants providing a secure, reliable environment to send money from, and a collaboration with Digicel (the fastest growing mobile company in the world) to provide payout locations throughout the Pacific.

“One of the important things we learned in consulting Island communities was that collecting remitted funds was often an arduous task on the islands “ says Nick Lissette. “ Not everybody is able to jump in their car and pop down the road to a handy ATM, in fact they are often faced with a day’s bus and boat ride to the nearest payout point, and that is provided they have the meagre fare.”

PanPac has responded in Samoa by launching a weekly van run that completes a revolving circuit of the outlying villages dispensing cash along the way.

PanPac have recently developed a pay-packet-to-homeland remittance scheme for NZ RSE employers of temporary migrant labour, again superseding the previous arduous and costly methods used. Two of NZ’s biggest employers have already signed for the system.

An indication of the effect PanPac is having in the Funds Transfer industry was evidenced by their invitation to the recent ‘High level Round Table Conference on Pacific Island Remittances’ hosted by the World Bank in Sydney and attended by all major Australasian banks and Reserve Banks in the region.

PanPac are actively expanding through the Pacific ( including Australia) and onto the wider world. They are now part of an independent network in over 40 countries.

As a Kiwi success story PanPac are hoping the Government will support a range of initiatives to improve funds transfer in the Pacific.


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