TDB — helping pacific islanders to send money home

Tonga Development Bank (TDB) was established in 1977 on a remote island in the Pacific that relies heavily on Tongans living and working overseas. A large amount of these workers reside in New Zealand and Australia. Remittance accounts for more than 40% of the entire countries GDP  (Gross domestic product). 

TDB and the International Finance Corporation (IFC)* partnered with Cymonz to save money and time for migrant workers and Tongan nationals living abroad when sending funds home to Tonga. 

(WU 18% - Banks 10%ish, World Bank Target 7%, TDB / Ave Pa'anga Pau 4.5% - 5%)
Tonga Development Banks cashless remittance platform powered by Cymonz launched in New Zealand. The Ave Pa’anga Pau, a digital remittance product powered by Cymonz launches in Australia.

* part of the World Bank Group to improve financial systems.


Remote migrant workers plagued with high costs when remitting money.

Not only were Tongan migrant workers faced with lengthy-time delays when sending money to family in Tonga, but Banks and Money Services Businesses were also charging remitters between 10 and 20% per transaction.

Partnership saved time and money for migrant workers

IFC and TDB worked with Cymonz to implement their newly optimised international payments platform. As part of this new initiative, the Ave Pa’Anga Pau Voucher was formed. The Tonga Development Bank now has a cashless remittance platform that allows fellow remitters working in countries such and New Zealand or Australia an extremely cost-effective option of sending money back home. 

Technology delivers same-day transfers to Tonga

It uses Cymonz technology and banking mechanisms to provide a cashless platform, with no fees, competitive FX rates and an Anti Money Laundering and Combating Financing and Terrorism compliant module that delivers same-day transfers to Tonga.


Make it easy, lock it in rates and yet, be flexible enough to build a stronger Tonga

  • Easy sign up: Provide your ID details for verification and receive real-time approval
    Enter & save the beneficiaries details
  • Locked rate: When purchasing a remittance voucher, the exchange rate is locked in real-time
    Payment is made by Bank Transfer in New Zealand and Australian dollars
  • Flexible payment options: Both parties receive an electronic notification and voucher when the money is ready to be received in Tonga
    The voucher can be paid to the beneficiaries bank account or it can be received in cash at one of Tonga Developments branches 
  • A stronger Tonga: As more vouchers are purchased in New Zealand by Tongans, Tonga Development Bank accumulates a pool of New Zealand dollars in New Zealand and Australian dollars in Australia. In Tonga, TDB can offer companies who import goods from New Zealand a source of Foreign Exchange. The importers pay TDB in Pa’anga, which TDB use to meet their remittance voucher obligations. TDB then use the New Zealand or Australian dollars they had accumulated to pay for the goods being imported to Tonga.
  • Remittance Buffer: To ensure they can honour their commitments to remittance and importers and exporters. TDB finds a buffer in each account, with this approach, TDB can offer remittance and importers effective foreign exchange solutions. 
  • Real time monitoring: TDB’s monitoring system provides real-time reporting on AML / CFT issues, ensuring it is compliant with international legislation.


Compliant, self-service and secure - cost-effective, easy to use, quick to provision

Below is a list of some of the technical solutions Cymonz was able to provide TDB.

Full customer self-service platform, from registration through to the transfer of money through a secure, easy to use and fast application.

Full compliance module including knowing your customer, anti-money laundering, pep and sanction screening and transaction monitoring.

Payment application for real-time receipt of payments, reconciliation and release of beneficiary payments.

Sales application to assist customers in processing transactions and transaction-related queries. Management and profit reporting with GL exports.


Savings for the customer, and new revenue streams for TDB

Cymonz has been able to create a fantastic outcome for Tonga as a County and Tonga Development Bank. 

They were able to launch quickly and focus on promoting the platform to overseas Tongan migrant workers that had New Zealand and Australian Bank Accounts. 

At the time of writing, around 5,000 transactions take place on the platform monthly and we predict this number to be ever-growing.

Each transaction means savings for Tonga, savings for the customer, and new revenue streams for Tonga Development Bank. 

The amount saved per transaction for a remitter is between 10 to 15%, compared to sending money through traditional methods such as Banks and Money Services Businesses (MSB’S).

The remittance platform has also allowed local importers to be able to receive better pricing from the Bank. 

As a result, Tonga Development Bank and Ave Pa’anga Pau have been able to successfully increase the GDP of Tonga with more than a quarter of the country’s GDP coming from remittances.
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