Evidence on individuals' access to and usage of formal financial services
This report describes the level of financial access in Tonga - the fourth Pacific Islands Regional Initiative (PIRI) country to move forward with a financial inclusion demand side survey (DSS) effort. DSS surveys were previously completed in Samoa, Fiji and the Solomon Islands. This survey was conducted in the first quarter of 2016 and includes indicators from the 2014 World Bank Global Findex surveys as well as the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI) indicators.
The Tonga DSS, like the surveys in the other PIRI countries, was designed to capture financial inclusion indicators that would be comparable across the region and globally. Importantly, these were the first such surveys in each country. The National Reserve Bank of Tonga and its PIRI partners understand that financial inclusion incorporates not only individuals’ access to and usage of formal financial services, but also how those services fit into individuals’ lives - the quality that those services deliver. More attention and research needs to be devoted to this quality dimension in Tonga and the other PIRI partners - more than could be achieved in this first round of surveys. Still, this report presents valuable evidence of how Tongans use financial services, alone and in combination - information that is impossible to learn from supply-side sources alone.