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'Stronger together' - ANZ to extend Pacific remittance fee waiver

ANZ will extend its online remittance fee waiver campaign in the Pacific until September 2021, allowing even more people to send much-needed money home to the islands without paying a transfer fee.


Pacific countries have felt the impact of the Covid-19 economic downturn strongly, with many income streams collapsing to nothing and disposal income severely impacted.


Money sent back to the Pacific from overseas, known as remittances, can make up a large portion of a household's disposable income - up to 25 per cent.


Tessa Price, ANZ Regional Executive for the Pacific and Kishti Sen, ANZ Pacific Economist, speak about the waiver of fees for remittances to the Pacific.


In September last year, ANZ introduced a temporary waiver of its $7 international money transfer fee for online foreign currency payments made from Australia and New Zealand into ten Pacific countries.


Latest figures show the volume of transfers made and the value of those transfers has increased substantially on the same period last year.


In February 2021, ANZ Australia and New Zealand customers sent a combined volume of 8,761 International Money Transfers worth AUD12m – a 95 per cent increase in volume and 33 per cent increase in value compared with the same period last year.


To further support the Pacific, ANZ is today announcing the campaign will be extended until September this year, meaning transfers to the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, New Caledonia, Timor Leste and Vanuatu will continue to not incur a fee*.


ANZ Regional Executive – Pacific Tessa Price said the move will provide some relief for ANZ customers there during a very difficult period.


“With industries like tourism drying up due to Covid-19 restrictions, many families are still unable to generate the income they desperately need,” she said.



“A huge part of Pacific culture is about taking care of each other – that’s why a growing number of our customers have responded to Covid-19 by sending money home from Australia and New Zealand.”

- ANZ Regional Executive – Pacific Tessa Price



ANZ Pacific Economist Kishti Sen said disposable income is the prime determinant of consumer demand, and the biggest boost to household disposable income growth in recent years has come from private inward remittances.


"Fiji’s remittances grew by 7 per cent per annum, on average, since 2017, including a massive 11.1 per cent in 2020," he said.


"Samoa’s growth has been more impressive at 12.7 per cent per year, while Tonga was a little lower at 9.7 per cent per year, but was up a whopping 22 per cent last year. 


"Total remittances to Fiji in 2020 was FJD653m (6.9 per cent of GDP), Samoa WST603m (29 per cent) and Tonga TOP425m (37 per cent) – all setting new historical records."


Mr Sen said given that 2020 was a year of Covid-19 economic uncertainty, the growth in remittance was "somewhat surprising.


"A combination of factors contributed - obviously, at the top of the list is the Pacific shared identity of 'stronger together' - sticking together when it matters most," he said.


"Ongoing employment in the essential service sectors like healthcare, construction and manufacturing of the developed world also helped, along with hefty government income support payments to households in remitting countries.


"More recently, a restart of the seasonal worker program and a stronger Australian and New Zealand dollar has contributed also, as well as the lower cost of remittances - according to the Central Bank of Samoa, the average cost of sending AUD200 in 2020 was 2.3 per cent lower than in 2019."


* The fee waiver applies to any foreign currency international money transfer sent between from Australia and New Zealand to the following Pacific countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Timor Leste and Vanuatu. Usual foreign exchange rates and terms and conditions will still apply. For certain currencies, a correspondent bank may charge a fee for processing the payment to the beneficiary bank and the beneficiary's bank may charge the beneficiary fee(s) for receipt of the payment. Additional fees may also apply when using an ANZ Credit Card.



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