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(TCSI): youSave members are the first in the world to use airtime credits to make deposits towards the voluntary retirement savings scheme.

As of today, youSave members can make deposits into their accounts with Solomon Island National Provident Fund (SINPF) through their mobile phones.

The SINPF is Solomon Islands’ largest superannuation fund and offers a number of retirement savings options for ordinary Solomon Islanders; youSave being one of those options.

Instead of having to visit an SINPF office or agent for deposits, this new service called ‘youSave LoMobile’ provides easier and safer access for members anytime and anywhere in Solomon Islands, using their mobile top ups (airtime credit).

The digital savings service also allows members to track their savings through free balance checks, which helps in planning, tracking and meeting youSave members’ savings goals.

‘youSave Lomobile’ uses what is essentially an established exchange rate to convert mobile airtime credits into cash equivalents which can then be deposited into youSave member accounts.

What makes this initiative even more relevant to the Solomon Islands’ context is that it does not require a data connection or even an app capable device. All that is needed in order to make a deposit is access to mobile network coverage.

Today’s milestone achievement is the culmination of a long period of collaboration between the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) and SINPF, together with Solomon Islands’ largest mobile network operators – Solomon Telekom and Bmobile.

This initiative has also been made possible by the financial and technical support provided by the Pacific Financial Inclusion Program (PFIP) under the UNCDF and funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (DFAT).

Recently, the CBSI has been more accommodative of and has even spearheaded innovative initiatives such as the youSave Lomobile service to spur the development and adoption of digital channels.

“We are really supportive of this new mobile service from SINPF, because it will really improve access and usage of long-term savings products, especially for those communities of Solomon Islands that do not have bank branches and agents”, said the Governor of the Central Bank at today’s launching of the youSave service.

youSave is a voluntary saving scheme designed specifically for the self-employed and for those working in the informal sector, enabling them to build a safety net for the future.

The scheme was launched in 2017 by the SINPF in close collaboration with the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI) and with the support of the Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP).

The savings scheme has proven to be very popular amongst self-employed Solomon Islanders with almost 15,000 members signing up to the voluntary scheme to date.