Nuni Kulu 2021 Year in Review
At a glance of 2021, projected recovery announcements soon dissipated with the emergence of the second wave of COVID-19 Delta Variant and further prolonged the financial and social impact to the PNG Economy, as the country experienced a very low uptake of Covid-19 vaccination rates. Whilst the market continues to experience negative impact from the COVID-19 Pandemic, positive highlights were the opportunities encountered for digital innovation and growth within the financial industry.
BSP has seen an incremental adoption to alternative digital banking channels, for instance, in mobile banking, there was even greater customer transactions, shifting from the urban sector to the rural community, as more Customers opted for contactless balance enquiry using Mobile and Internet Banking services; and in the rural setting, domestic produce farmers took to transfer money via BSP Mobile Banking and payments for goods from Mobile Merchant situated within good network coverage area, instead of going to a branch or store in town.
Throughout 2021, BSP advocated strongly for alternative digital payments, prompting customer awareness, the uptake of a variety of online merchants ranging from small to medium business, tertiary institution and government agencies who adapted their service delivery in the hope of keeping business operations afloat. A key takeaway is that the pandemic marked a positive shift in financial transactions, and consumer spending evolved from in-store brick-and-mortar to using digital integration and online marketplace. Organically, both business and consumers seeking ease of payments solutions, responded with increased appetite to continue to spending, and BSP accelerated homegrown secure payment platforms that promoted new payment rails for seamless online payment experience.
Providing a digitally enabled environment for our customers has been the main priority. BSP proprietary ecommerce engine allows customers to transfer payment seamless from the consumer’s account to the online merchant account in real time, with no dependency on a scheme card, but the use of unique BSP Customers credential and mobile verification of a SMS Security Code (OTP).
The launch of Air Niugini Online Payment Portal in November quickly saw an immediate uptake of payment for domestic travel and later overseas travel in early 2022. Domestic consumers increasingly opting to purchase travel tickets online will soon have both options to use scheme cards or BSP Pay for BSP Customers.
BSP Internet Payment Gateway (BSP IPG) is a cost effective online payment solution that meets global standards, and reduces dependency on offshore service provider. BSP IPG is a proprietary homegrown digital solution developed by Platform Pacific Ltd, a Fintech and subsidiary of BSP.
Mobile technology is cost effective to consumers and service providers alike, particularly for payments, BSP Mobile Payments continues to grow exponentially primarily as more consumer- value service providers come on board the mobile banking platform. In addition, there is a high penetration of mobile connection of 34% within the country. Consumers’ most preferred payment option is using the MB USSD Service to pay for more than just groceries, airtime and electricity top up, enabling customers to pay on time with ease, their day-to-day bills for household utilities such as Sewerage and Garbage Tax. In a similar manner, online and mobile payments services will be available when paying for government services, Department of Finance is working with BSP to enable citizens’ access to making digital payments, providing ease of access to services sooner and hopefully reduce inconvenience of having to line up at Government offices.
BSP will continue to create bespoke payment integration solutions suitable for domestic industry supply chain, B2B payments and informal markets. BSP’s proprietary payment strategy aims to transition consumers, particularly with a greater reliance on cash, to cost-effective applications using mobile technology. The bank is exploring the feasibility of AI technology initially to improve market insights on the customers’ journey, which will allow capability for predictive analysis and advanced data analytics. The Banking industry has adopted AI Technology, albeit nascent for PNG market, BSP is exploring the technology for efficiency to engage with the customer journey and offer new ways of transactional processing. In essence, create the ultimate digital experience; customer can use their own devices to access real-time feed of data, allowing even more informed decision-making.
In 2022, BSP will continue to improve and enhance transactional and payments experience with innovative banking solutions to expand digital inclusion in all our markets.