In 2022, the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) conducted a Digital and Financial Literacy Baseline Survey in seven Pacific Island Countries: Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, and Vanuatu. Fiji was the first of the Pacific countries where the survey was rolled out.
On 27 July 2023, UNCDF and the Reserve Bank of Fiji launched the 2022 Fiji Digital and Financial Literacy Survey Report. The report assesses the status of the ever-growing Digital Financial Literacy in Fiji with the aim of developing a baseline report as well as informing targeted interventions to strengthen inclusive Digital Financial Services to marginalised and low-income groups.
Ms Neha Mehta, UNCDF Pacific Regional Lead, said, “The first step towards digital financial literacy is awareness, and that is exactly what we are doing today because we are making sure that we know our numbers, we know where we are lacking, we know the barriers, we know what leaps and bounds we have to go ahead and solve.”
Key findings on perceptions about the digital services:
- 66% agree digital financial services like mobile payments, online banking, and digital wallets will soon replace cash in Fiji;
- 75% acknowledge that digital financial services make it easier to receive payments;
- 60% believe digital financial services are risky for ordinary people; and
- 47% believe that they can’t keep up with the fast pace of technology and fear they will be left behind – this is especially observed among men and women living in rural villages.
Key findings on participation in the digital economy:
- 81%of people have access to smartphone, while only 39%have access to a tablet, a laptop or a desktop computer;
- 16%of people bought something online (e-commerce), while 86% of people have access to public transport via a card or debit card; and 78% of people have access to digital/electronic/mobile wallets; and
- 9% used a card payment with chip and pin or swipe and sign to pay for their most recent grocery purchase compared to only 3% who paid for a meal out by card.
Ms Caroline Waqabaca, Chief Manager Economics of the Reserve Bank of Fiji, said, “Good data, we know, provides an essential foundation for evidence-based decision-making, and it orders to fully realise the game changing potential of digital financial inclusion, we need reliable data to enable us to accurately diagnose the state of financial inclusion in Fiji.”
Over 1,600 Fijians were surveyed with results showing Fijians have moderate levels of digital and financial literacy (DFL), with a mean score of 26.45 out of 52 on the DFL index. It is noted that access to smartphones and the internet is relatively high, but cost remains a limiting factor, especially for women and youths. Focus areas for improvement are strengthening literacy across various subgroups, including low-SES groups, rural areas, and the youngest and oldest cohorts; and building confidence in using digital financial services (DFS) and other online activities while raising awareness about the benefits and risks.
A follow-up survey in 2025 will track progress in financial well-being, trust in financial service providers, money management, savings behaviours, and DFS usage.
Fiji’s Digital Financial Report aligns well with two Key Priority Areas of the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap, namely Electronic Payment Solutions and E-commerce Skills Development.
Download the full report: Assessing Digital and Financial Literacy in Fiji: A Survey on Knowledge, Skills and Access.
Download the key findings One Pager.