Date: January 11, 2019
Source: The National
Article Views: 269
Since opening her first savings account in July 2017, Misa John has been actively saving about K400 a month.
The 26-year-old mother of two earns a living by selling vegetables, fruits and ice blocks outside a primary school in Western Highlands.
John says she jumped at the opportunity to start saving when Westpac Bank visited her community, offering their new Choice Wantok product that does not have any opening fees.
Directly opposite her makeshift stall is a Westpac Instore merchant where she banks her savings.
“I feel happy that I am able to put aside money for my savings.
“My first deposit was K40 and I have tried to save as much as possible each week.
“I try to bank whatever I make, because it’s safe in the bank and I am not tempted to spend my money on unnecessary items.”
At the merchant store, John is also able to use her debit card to buy groceries. When needed for emergencies, she is also able to withdraw cash for personal use.
Store owner, Mary Yand, says that her community relies on the services she provides, because the nearest bank is over an hour drive away and transportation is both costly and irregular.
She also highlighted that her store serves between six and 10 customers each day, using the Westpac digital payment services. The highest savings deposit that Yand has come across was K2000 kina.
Up until 2017, only 10 per cent of the population in the Highlands were using formal financial services.
Westpac believes that understanding people, their culture, values, and the way things work for communities and linking those insights to the design of financial services can greatly improve the uptake and usage of those services.