Pandemic push: Kina Bank’s ambitious ecommerce plans for Papua New Guinea


With COVID-19 pushing more businesses online, Kina Bank is introducing some ambitious enhancements to its digital services. Chief Executive Officer Greg Pawson outlines his plans to Business Advantage PNG.

Kina Bank Haus in downtown Port Moresby Credit: Kina Bank

Business Advantage PNG (BAPNG): Kina has been working on an Internet Payment Gateway (IPG) service that will allow the use of ATM cards for online payments. How far has that progressed?

Greg Pawson (GP): We have launched it. Our platform can now accept non-EMV chip cards: the local ATM cards that we produce here with the black strip on the back. It is more cost-effective, the charges on those kind of cards are much lower. And it widens the audience – all of our customers can now pay for goods and services online. We want everyone to benefit, not just Visa or MasterCard holders. Customers with Kina Bank local cards can enjoy the benefits of shopping online using our Internet Payment Gateway (IPG) for the first time. It’s a significant step forward in our strategy and a first for PNG as Kina Bank powers the digital revolution across the nation.

BAPNG: How have you addressed security concerns?

Kina Bank’s Greg Pawson.

We have got some very robust security measures in place. Our IPG is a more reliable system than others. It’s 3DS 2.0 and is the only IPG in the country to have that level of security.

Our fraud controls mean that we can also ensure those payments are being tracked. We will know within a minute of a customer making a transaction on that card being validated whether it is a scheme card or a non-scheme card.

There is also secure identification. Users will get an SMS message or a WhatsApp message – depending on what they have selected online – to validate their transactions. So, it is not like you can pick the card up off the street and just use it. It won’t work unless the appropriate security protocols are followed.

The pleasing thing with this is that the government has really jumped on this and supported it.

BAPNG: Which institutions have taken it up so far?

Department of Lands

John Rosso, Secretary of the Department of Lands & Physical Planning Benjamin Samson, NiuPay’s James Inglis, PM James Marape and Greg Pawson during the launch of its e-lands and go-lands platform in August 2020. Credit: NiuPay.

GP: We did an initial pilot launch with the Lands Department making it possible for customers to use their ATM cards to pay land rates. We are just adapting that platform so that customers can direct debit from their bank account – pay through our gateway regardless whether they bank with Kina or BSP. That will help facilitate some of the larger payments.

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We also welcomed the Immigration and Citizen Authority (ICA) to our payment gateway and this has been a great success. Customers can apply for visa and citizenship applications online, without having to visit a branch. It also allows users to pay for multiple applications at a single time – so it’s faster, easier and more secure. And with our enhanced system it will solve many of the problems the ICA experienced in the past.

The latest milestones come from Kina Bank’s ground-breaking partnership with local fintech company NiuPay. NiuPay is the first PNG-based organisation to offer true end-to-end online financial technology solutions and they are working closely with government behind the scenes.

‘It is an interesting environment from a competitive perspective. It hasn’t really developed as it should and that is what we are challenging.’

BAPNG: How many cardholders do you have?

GP: We have about 170,000 customers at the moment. About 5000 of those have got EMV chip cards and around 60 per cent have non-scheme cards. So it is pretty significant. Most customers who have the chip cards have non-scheme cards as well. Domestically, you are better off using non-scheme cards because they have lower fees.

‘We are developing a new platform that allows customers to transfer money overseas and trade in foreign currency.’

BAPNG: How do you expect the payments system to develop in PNG?

GP: It is an interesting environment from a competitive perspective. It hasn’t really developed as it should and that is what we are challenging.

Take EFTPOS machines. You go to a retailer and they will have four on the counter – one for each bank. So, we are challenging that. There is no difference in cost, whichever bank terminal you use, so there is no need for merchants to have four terminals. Merchants are paying four times as much in fees as they have to. A couple of our major supermarket customers are trialling integrated EFTPOS at the moment and as a result of that they will move exclusively to our terminals. Ours is the fastest and integrates with most retailers’ software.

BAPNG: You also have a new partnership with Everest, the global cloud-based banking platform. What is that about?

GP: We are developing a new platform that allows customers to transfer money overseas and trade in foreign currency. We already have the leading online foreign exchange platform but, at the end of the day, to use that platform you have to be a customer and go through the laborious process of setting up an account. This platform will be available to everyone, including those who don’t already bank with Kina Bank.

With the Everest platform, you can upload your identification digitally, there is a facial recognition capacity built in. It uses the latest in biometric identity and virtual account creation capabilities. Customers will be able to use their passport as ID to self-register digitally and they won’t need to visit a branch or submit paper documents

But the really exciting thing for us is not just the remittance platform; it is that we can use the eKYC (Electronic Know Your Customer) technology to digitally on-board new customers.

One of the key points of difference for us is that we do funds administration and funds management as well as being bank and we actually have access to 800,000 superannuants through Nasfund and Nambawan Super (NSL). NSL in particular is very keen to talk to us about a banking proposition for their customers: a transaction bank proposition but also a home loan offer and a number of other things.


  1. Francis Yegiora says

    Excellent thank you Kina bank we are proud of this advancement.

  2. If we can reduce queuing Good BV

  3. Ian Palmer says

    This so exciting. I will be coming to PNG to work in Finance Services Industry- when I can obtain my visa / permit. Hopefully mid January. Currently I live in Australia.
    I have a great business venture to discuss with you.
    Ian Palmer
    (A Kina Bank client).

  4. Agnes Nesat says

    Thanks to kina bank for this convenient service.

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