Pacific | Finance

App to revolutionise Fijian economy

Duapay is a mobile payment acceptance app that is being trialed with Fijian women’s businesses.

Female small business owners in Fiji are celebrating the launch of a digital mobile payment platform.

Duapay is an innovative technology poised to transform the way Fijian entrepreneurs conduct their businesses.

It aims to bridge the digital divide and open up exciting opportunities in tourist trade.

A driving force behind the development of Duapay, Fintech Pacific chief operations officer Joana Smith, says the app will make life easier for small businesses.

“The only reason people carry cash is that there is a lack of acceptance but, if I walk up to a market vendor who now tells me that I am able to accept your card, then it means, as the days or weeks go by, you start to change your mindset and your lifestyle.

“Then you no longer have to carry cash around.”

Operational at the Suva and Nadi markets, Duapay allows Fijian women traders to securely accept card and digital payments on their mobile devices.

This leap into the digital economy marks a step forward for these entrepreneurs, offering them the same transaction capabilities as larger commercial businesses.

With smartphones becoming more affordable, Smith highlights the ubiquity of these devices among Fijians.

“You walk in the streets of Fiji, it doesn’t matter what age gap you see from the youngest to the oldest; everyone is holding a smartphone.

“It’s what you carry every day. You can’t leave your home without your mobile, right? Sometimes you forget your keys, and you forget your wallet but never your phone.”

The payment acceptance application was funded through Mastercard.

This initiative received support from both the Australian government and YGAP, a community programme aiding Fijian women entrepreneurs.

The title “DUA” meaning “ONE” holds a special significance, symbolising unity and empowerment.

According to the Women’s Finance Exchange, women-run micro, small, and medium enterprises in Fiji constitute 19% of the total, with an unfulfilled credit demand of approximately A$250 million.

Smith believes this technology will contribute a lot to the Fijian economy.

“With the borders finally opening, it meant that the only way these women could generate revenue was through tourists coming to our shores.

“But how best to tap into this tourism market when there was just a lack of digital services or products like Duapay? It was the perfect opportunity, and it meant we were in a position to empower these women.”

Duapay is accessible to small business owners who have been banking with Westpac in Fiji for at least 12 months, and more businesses are expected to become eligible in the near future.

Mastercard country manager New Zealand and Pacific Islands Ruth Riviere says the local Fiji markets are an untapped market.

“Mastercard is working to address the 30% of the Fijian population that is underserved in the financial services sector.

We are excited about the opportunities innovations like this will bring for women entrepreneurs across Fiji and the rest of the Pacific.”

The platform is set to launch soon for Fijian women business owners in Aotearoa and Australia, promising to revolutionise digital payment methods.