PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Digicel and Scotiabank launched their mobile money product in Haiti on Monday, Nov. 22nd.
TchoTcho Mobile allows Haitians to complete basic banking functions such as cash withdrawals, deposits and transfers safely and securely through their mobile phone and does not require them to have a traditional bank account.
During the first three months, the program will offer up to 20,000 users the ability to do cash withdrawal and deposits, domestic money transfer to another mobile user, purchase top-up and manage their TchoTcho Mobile account.
In the future, TchoTcho Mobile will deliver an extended range of additional mobile money services.
In addition, NGO, World Vision is using the service to pay its staff working on the ground in Haiti. There are currently around 130 World Vision employees receiving their salaries via TchoTcho Mobile and World Vision will equally use the service to perform cash-for-work payments. Likewise, a number of local companies in Haiti are using the innovative mobile money service to pay weekly and monthly wages to their employees.
Registration for TchoTcho Mobile is simple, requiring only one piece of valid Government-issued ID. Valid IDs include a national ID card, passport or driver’s license, as required by the Central Bank of Haiti. There is no cost to open an account and only a small minimum deposit of HTG 100 (US$2.50) is required. In terms of transactions, there is a daily limit of 20,000 HTG (US$500) and customers will not be able to transact more than 10,000 HTG (US$250) at one time.
Digicel and Scotiabank received final approval for the launch of TchoTcho Mobile via a letter of non-objection from the Banque de la Republique d’Haiti (BRH), Haiti’s Central Bank, as well as approval from the Haitian telecoms regulator.
The mobile money concept is guaranteed to take off in Haiti, where only 10% of the population had used a commercial bank pre-earthquake (according to USAID), but where mobile penetration stands at over 35%. This number is up from a low 5% before Digicel’s launch in 2006 — and continues to grow each year.
Maarten Boute, CEO of Digicel Haiti, comments, “TchoTcho Mobile has the potential to dramatically improve the lives of the Haitian people — in the same way that Digicel’s mobile services did when we launched them.
“With over 2.4 million customers here, Haitians have come to know and trust the Digicel brand. We are confident that TchoTcho Mobile will have a positive impact on the lives of the Haitian people.”
“We are proud to favour financial inclusion in Haiti and to work with Digicel to offer a service that will make financial transactions accessible to Haitians who are not part of the traditional banking system,” said Maxime Charles, Country Head, Scotiabank Haiti. “Scotiabank has offered a full range of banking services in Haiti since 1972 and we see this as a great opportunity to extend our reputation for safe and secure banking services to an innovative and convenient mobile money product.”
Jean Capili of World Vision comments, “We are excited about the potential mobile banking has for our participants in our cash for work program and for future programs that can utilize such mobile technology. It is an alternate mode of payment that is more secure and will reduce the existing number of days in which participants get paid which in turn means they can purchase necessities for their children faster.”