SUVA, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- From January 1 next year, there will be no fee charged to people shopping in supermarkets in Fiji who swipe their ATM (automated teller machine) cards for transactions.
This initiative was first announced during the budget announcement by the Fijian government and reiterated on Tuesday as the Fijian government held discussions with the Association of Banks in Fiji to ensure its implementation come 2019.
According to Fiji Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday, the Fijian government will pay 50 percent of the cost to purchase EFTPOS (Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale) machines for small businesses. The initiative will also apply to pharmacies, service stations and other businesses that provide EFTPOS services.
Fiji's Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the fee for every transaction was 40 Fijian cents (about 18 U.S. cents), however, from January next year, the Fijian government will remove the fee and Fijians can do unlimited transactions without any cost.
Khaiyum said that when more Fijians used electronic forms of payment, money remains within the system as it is not taken out physically from the banks.
When less money is removed from the banking system, the interest rates on loans would come down.
He said electronic modes of payment are safer, it reduces the risk of losing money in cases such as losing one's wallet or robbery.
He further explained that the electronic payments were also proof of how much sale business houses have done, which in turn ensures they pay correct taxes.
"It also from our wider economic perspectives by having more electronic transaction, by having more liquidity in the system it also means that when you want to go and borrow money, the cost of borrowing is not expensive," the minister said.
Khaiyum said they are also looking forward to having more sale machines in different allocations throughout Fiji.