The first mobile money service has started in Haiti. Last week, the Voila /Unibank service launched, after a successful nine month pilot. The technology behind the success was provided by MoreMagic Solutions, the mobile commerce and financial services solutions provider.
The nine month pilot helped Mercy Corps, the international relief and development agency, to securely and cost effectively distribute money across Haiti to support various reconstruction efforts.
The service, called T-Cash, runs on MCFS:Suite, the Mobile Commerce and Financial Services technology platform. MoreMagic Solutions says MCFS:Suite, brings the benefits of basic financial services to hundreds of thousands of people in Haiti, for the first time. T-Cash provides Voila customers with an electronic wallet, so they can make financial transactions such as peer-to-peer money transfers, paying bills and receiving payments.
Funds in the electronic wallet can be converted into cash, or used to purchase items such as food and shelter materials.
Voila is a Haitian wireless operator. It is a subsidiary of Trilogy International Partners, based in Seattle. Unibank is Haiti’s premier bank.
MoreMagic Solutions wasn’t the only technology available for this project, but Voila chose them because of their experience in other developing markets. That experience made for a fast implementation time.
Robin Padberg, Voila CEO said “MoreMagic Solutions’ experience in other developing markets with mobile banking and their deep understanding of our needs, coupled with a very secure and yet flexible technology platform, enabled us to launch this service within two months of the earthquake last January as a pilot and go fully commercial after nine months.”
Voila launched their eTopUp program for airtime sales in Haiti in 2008. The program allowed 15,000 to make money by selling airtime from their own $10 and under phones.
Pankaj Gulati, MoreMagic CEO said the new service has brought banking to a large population that never had access to bank services before. “We’re excited to extend our relationship and to be the technology partner behind the first mobile money service in Haiti. They have skipped all the legacy steps and created the ultimate mobile banking experience with T-Cash, thus demonstrating strong collaboration between the mobile operator, the bank and the relief organization.”
The service quickly became successful. Haiti has very few bank branches, but Voila says more than 85% of Haitian households have access to a mobile phone. The electronic wallet can hold 2500HTG, which is around $62.50 USD.
Voila and UNIBANK expect to be able to establish more than one thousand affiliated merchants and cash in/cash out locations throughout Haiti in the next one to two months.