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MonCash and Natcash agents are overcharging customers

  • May 30, 2024
  • 10 Min
  • 20

Digicel and Natcom’s commissions on transactions are unsatisfactory, agents argue

Read this article in French

Agents of the mobile money transfer services MonCash and Natcash reveal that they charge irregular fees to customers, citing unsatisfactory commissions paid on transactions by Digicel and Natcom.

For a withdrawal of 7,500 gourdes, 171 gourdes goes to Digicel while around 15% of this amount goes to the agent, complains a MonCash service representative based in Roche-à-Bateau in the South department.

To increase his income, the man forces customers to purchase at least 200 gourdes worth of products from his hardware store to qualify for a withdrawal.

“We have almost no significant return on investment,” he laments.

For a withdrawal of 7,500 gourdes, 171 gourdes goes to Digicel while approximately 15% of this amount reaches the agent.

An agent from Marmelade’s Natcash service says he pockets less than 250 gourdes after a day spent making withdrawals for customers sometimes amounting to 100,000 gourdes.

Customers, according to Roody Legros, an agent of the Natcash service, are free to accept or refuse the arbitrary fees, pointing out that he regularly has to pay a cab to get to Cap-Haïtien in order to buy the Natcash he has to resell with his own funds.

Different types of agents receive different amounts for transactions.

AyiboPost was unable to obtain the service fees for either company.

Read also: DCPJ investigations slowed by illegal sale of Digicel and Natcom SIMs

These irregular fees weigh on the finances of customers, many of whom live in rural areas, sometimes with only one service representative for miles.

Natcash figures are not public, but MonCash has more than a million users across the country.

Both services provide easy access to banking services in a context where only 19% of Haitians had a bank account in 2014.

Each additional gourde to pay in fees counts in a country where more than half of the inhabitants live below the poverty line.

An agent from Marmelade’s Natcash service says he pockets less than 250 gourdes after a day spent making withdrawals for customers sometimes amounting to 100,000 gourdes.

More than a dozen testimonies collected by AyiboPost suggest that Natcash and MonCash agents charge customers additional fees for withdrawals in provincial towns and even in the metropolitan region, largely outside the control of the two telecommunications companies.

Clients like Ricardo Duré are scandalized by the practice.

On September 10, 2023, the man went to the Blockauss Market in Bainet, in the southeast of the country, to withdraw 20,000 gourdes from his MonCash account. He was billed more than 1,000 gourdes – instead of 629 gourdes – for the service by the agent responsible for the MonCash withdrawal service.

“I couldn’t believe it,” remembers Duré, who says he obtained – not without persistence – a reimbursement of the additional fees.

Read also: CONATEL abandons number portability – for now

A similar situation is unfolding in Marmalade, according to testimony.

Last February, Alex Exilum wanted to withdraw 5,000 gourdes that a parent had just transferred to his Natcash account. The service agent took 500 gourdes from him as a withdrawal fee, a sum which far exceeds the 97 gourdes stipulated by Natcom.

“This practice has become systematic in the area,” says Exilum. “If you do not accept these withdrawal conditions, you won’t get the transaction.”

“We have the best commission structure on the market,” retorts an employee within MonCash.

To the agents who express their dissatisfaction with the absence of loans and the low commissions that the service offers them, the employee specifies: “MonCash is not a bank, nor a is it micro-credit. People must understand that the service will not be able to meet all of their needs or cover the payroll for their business. Agents must have another source of income.”

This practice has become systematic in the area. If you do not accept these withdrawal conditions, you won’t get your transaction.

Alex Exilum

Measures may be taken against the offending agents.

“Agents who engage in ‘bad practices’ [of overcharging] will probably be removed from the network,” reveals the MonCash communications department to AyiboPost, reached through Harrison Mainsour, one of the managers within the service.

On Friday, April 26, 2024, an AyiboPost journalist went to Natcom headquarters in Turgeau, but no manager was on site to answer questions. The communications manager was contacted by telephone. This article will be updated if the company reacts.

It is unclear whether the companies in question plan to take steps to increase commissions paid to Natcash and MonCash partners.

In the meantime, overcharging is becoming widespread.

In the north, Magdalina was charged 150 gourdes instead of the usual 105 gourdes for a transfer of 3,000 gourdes at the start of the year.

The lady regularly transfers money on behalf of her parents to her younger brother studying in Port-au-Prince.

According to the agent, this deduction is used to pay the employee hired to provide the service, since their salary is not Digicel’s responsibility.

Read also: Centenary documents under threat from gangs

In Lacoma, a municipal section of Jean-Rabel; P. Génélus, a Natcash customer was charged an additional 100 gourdes for every 1,000 gourdes withdrawn.

Any customer refusing to pay these fees has to pay 1,000 gourdes in taxi fares to get the service in Port-de-Paix.

By Junior Legrand & Kervens Merisema

Cover image published by AyiboPost illustrating customer dissatisfaction with the MonCash and Natcash mobile money transfer services.

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Junior Legrand