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Digicel, Scotiabank partner on mobile banking product

Published:Wednesday | November 24, 2010 | 11:00 AM

Digicel has partnered with Scotiabank in Haiti on the launch of a mobile banking product in that country.

Tcho Tcho Mobile was launched in the French speaking country on Monday after formal approval was granted by the Banque de la Republique d'Haiti as well as the country's telecoms regulator.

The terms of the partnership was not disclosed.

Digicel had previously announced that it would first go to market with a mobile money service product in Haiti, which is still trying to recover from the January quake, but then declined to name its partner.

Scotiabank has offered a full range of banking services in Haiti since 1972.

The new mobile service "will make financial transactions accessible to Haitians who are not part of the traditional banking system," said Maxime Charles, Country Head, Scotiabank Haiti.

The service 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.

Mobile banking is a common feature in a number of poorer countries on the African continent and India, and a nascent market in Jamaica where the service is offered to smartphone users.

The so-called "semi-closed wallet" allows the user to exchange physical cash for virtual money, which can be stored on mobile phones to pay for goods or services.

In Haiti, in the first three months, the Digicel/Scotia programme 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, but will seek to add more features overtime.

Two months ago, Digicel launched a similar service in Fiji but the company has not said whether it plans to roll out to other countries in this region.

mark.titus@gleanerjm.com