MTN MobileMoney Limited has suspended the wallets of several mobile money agents for flouting the “No ID, No Cash out” directive and allowing customers to cash out money without submitting a valid ID.
Without mentioning how many merchants have been sanctioned, CEO of MobileMoney Limited, Eli Hini told journalists in a virtual forum that for a first time offence, their wallets have been terminated and they will be engaged and be made to sign a bond of compliance before the wallets will be reactivated.
“Those who flout the directive for a second time will have their wallets completely deactivated for good and they will be blacklisted all the way to the regulator level – which means they will not be able to work as agents for any other mobile money platform,” he said.
Name popup layer
Meanwhile, to ensure stricter ID validation for cash out, Eli Hini said MTN has added another layer to the ID verification process where the name of the wallet owner will pop up on the agents screen during a cash out transaction and if it does not match the name on the ID, the transaction will be terminated.
“Beginning from tonight [Tuesday night], the additional layer will be activated and will make it possible for agents to compare the name on the wallet with the name on the ID and determine the way forward on the transaction,” he said.
Eli Hini used the opportunity to reiterate the need for agents to demand physical IDs and do the name checks themselves to ensure that the person doing the cash out is actually the owner of both the ID and the wallet.
“We have dispatched a team to do mystery shopping to check if agents will follow the directive strictly – those found wanting will be weeded out of the system because we need the full compliance of the agents to make this policy work,” he said.
The MTN MoMo boss noted that given the fact that ID verification in Ghana now is not centralized and is a time consuming process, the success of the “No ID, No cash out” policy largely depends on agent compliance and MTN will continue to use sanctions and education to get the agents in line.
MTN launched the “No ID, No Cash out” policy on Good Friday, April 2, 2021. Days into the implementation of the policy, it emerged that some agents were blatantly violating the directive by either using the their own IDs or the IDs of other people to do cash out for customers, while others also accepted just ID numbers or IDs captured on phone for cash out transactions.
Some agents also allowed customers to make people transfer money to the agents wallets, and then they did the cash out for the customer.
As a result, when MTN did their backend reconciliations at close of day, they found that several cash out transactions were done with IDs that did not belong to the wallet owners, a situation that completely flies in the face of the “No ID, No cash out” policy.
Eli Hini said he is confident the new name pop up layer will give a further boost to the ID verification policy and trust that agents will strictly comply.
He said MTN will continue to monitor the implementation process and keep improving the backend processes and features to ensure that wallet security becomes tighter.
“ID requirement for MoMo transaction was an industry requirement when MoMo was first launched in Ghana but it was not effective at the time so it was pushed aside; but MTN felt the need to take the bold step and lead the way back to that requirement so others will have some learnings from our experience and follow,” he said.
Eli Hini said the ID requirement has become particularly necessary now that several customers keep complaining about cash out from the wallets which they did not initiate nor approve.
According to him, the regulator, Bank of Ghana, has seen the measures MTN has put in place for the implementation of the ID requirement “and they are okay with it.”
He used the occasion to call on the media to keep giving feedback on implementation issues to assist MTN to improve on it for the benefit of all mobile money customers.
Eli Hini said customers should also keep observing the three golden rules for the security of their own wallets.
The three golden rules are:
- Do not divulge your mobile money PIN to anyone.
- Do not approve of any mobile money transaction you did not initiate.
- Do not answer to any calls about your mobile money wallet if the call is not from MTN’s official number – 0244300000.