MoMo agents cautioned not to copy customers ID numbers

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General Manager of MTN Mobile Money, Eli Hini

The CEO of MobileMoney Limited, Eli Hini has warned mobile money agents not to copy the ID numbers of customers when they do cash outs. 

The warning comes on the back of customer complaints that some agents have made it practice to copy ID numbers in their log books, and when customers challenge them, they claim MTN instructed them to do so.

One customer told his story, saying that “MoMo agents are still writing down people’s IDs and they will argue with you to the hilt…I had to engage one of them and he insisted that’s the instruction to them. He defended that position by calling the Call Center from where one Afful confirmed his stance.”

But Eli Hini told TechGh24 that “Agents are not supposed to take down ID details in their log/transaction books.”

He said MTN has even stopped giving out the log/transaction books to the agents, so he has no idea which book the agents were copying the customer ID details into, as those books are not coming from MTN.

The MTN Mobile Money CEO said they are still educating the agents to desist from any such practice.

On April 1, 2021, MTN Ghana implemented a “No ID, No Mobile Money Cash out” policy to stem fraud. The policy relies heavily on the commitment of mobile money agents to succeed.

But within just the first week of its implementation, some 7,000 plus agents had their wallets suspended because they flouted the directive by either entering their own ID numbers or the ID numbers of others to do cash outs for customers who did not have ID cards.

That trend was worrying on a number of levels, including the fact that the agents actually stored the ID numbers of customers and used them to do cash out for other customers, which in itself was fraud and defeats the purpose of the whole policy.

MTN later engaged with the recalcitrant agents, made them sign a bond of good behavior and restored their wallets.

The company also introduced a name popup layer to the ID verification to ensure that the name in the ID tallies with the one that pops up on the agent’s phone screen.

Subsequent to that, some customers have been complaining some agents now openly copy customers’ ID numbers into their log books and that sometimes turn into verbal exchanges between customers and agents.

But the MTN Mobile Money CEO has cleared that air that there is no instruction from MTN for agents to copy ID numbers, and any agent that does that is in violation of their rules and runs the risk of being blacklisted.

He said MTN is working with the leadership of the mobile money agents to stop the practice and its possible consequences for the agents and the ecosystem.

Earlier on, President of the Mobile Money Advocacy Group of Ghana (MOMAG), Maame Nyarkoa Boatey-Addo had said that the recalcitrant MoMo agents are those in the business part-time or temporarily just to make money via fair or foul means and get out.

She also noted that some the people committing those violations are people who the owners of the business may have left in charge of the business temporarily but they are not the actual owners.

Maame Nyarkoa Boatey-Addo insisted that those in the mobile money business full time, who make a living from that business would not commit such violations.

According to her, MOMAG is working on sanitizing the environment by weeding out the recalcitrant ones gradually.

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