SOURCE: Digicel

Digicel Digicel

November 22, 2010 12:27 ET

Mobile Money Service Comes to Haiti With "TchoTcho Mobile" From Digicel and Scotiabank

Innovative Program Targets up to 20,000 Users Over the Next Three Months

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI--(Marketwire - November 22, 2010) - Digicel and Scotiabank today launched their mobile money product in Haiti.

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."

About Digicel

After nine and a half years of operation, Digicel Group Limited has 11 million customers across its 32 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific. The company is renowned for delivering best value, best service and best network.

Digicel is the lead sponsor of Caribbean, Central American and Pacific sports teams, including the Special Olympics teams throughout these regions. Digicel sponsors the West Indies cricket team and is also the title sponsor of the Digicel Caribbean Cup. In the Pacific, Digicel is the proud sponsor of several national rugby teams and also sponsors the Vanuatu cricket team.

Digicel also runs a host of community-based initiatives across its markets and has set up Digicel Foundations in Jamaica, Haiti and Papua New Guinea which focus on educational, cultural and social development programmes.

In 2004, Digicel developed Digicel Rising Stars -- an annual talent show to support aspiring young music artists in the Caribbean. The show has spanned the Eastern Caribbean, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago ranking as one of the top-rated shows.

Digicel is incorporated in Bermuda and its markets comprise: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Nauru, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos and Vanuatu. Digicel also has coverage in St. Martin and St. Barts in the Caribbean.

Visit www.digicelgroup.com for more information.

About Scotiabank

Scotiabank has been part of the Caribbean and Central America since 1889. It is now the leading bank in the region, with operations in 20 countries, including Haiti, Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. The Bank has more than 7,000 employees in the region, including affiliates, serving more than two million customers, with 232 branches, kiosks and other offices, plus 615 automated banking machines. Through the Bright Future program, Scotiabank focuses our charitable efforts on causes and activities that can enhance the well-being of children, particularly in the areas of education, health, wellness and the environment. For more information on our program, please visit www.scotiabank.com/brightfuture/index.html

Scotiabank is one of North America's premier financial institutions and Canada's most international bank. With close to 70,000 employees, Scotiabank Group and its affiliates serve approximately 14.6 million customers in some 50 countries around the world. Scotiabank offers a diverse range of products and services including personal, commercial, corporate and investment banking. With more than $523 billion in assets (as at July 31, 2010), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto (BNS) and New York Exchanges (BNS). For more information please visit www.scotiabank.com.

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