Mobile money service providers have reached multimillions of Pula average yearly on transactions since inception.
Orange money’s value of transaction since inception has reached P4.5 billion, Mascom’s Myzaka is currently at P295.8 million while BTC’s Smega value transacted is P50 million.
The transactions are said to include cash-in and cash-out by subscribers at an agent, cash-in deposits through bank to wallet, withdrawals by registered and unregistered subscribers, withdrawals by payroll. They also include withdrawals at automated teller machines (ATM), point-of-sale payments, online VISA Payments, transfers to registered and unregistered subscribers, Bulk Payments (B2C), transfer to international recipients, airtime purchases, bill payments and prepaid electricity purchases.
Minister of Finance Peggy Serame, told Parliament that in the unfortunate case of death of a subscriber, the Mobile Money Providers follow a standard process to redeem the funds to the beneficiaries upon receipt of information about the death of the mobile money subscriber.
She further stated that the beneficiaries are expected to submit all the necessary documents (death certificate and proof of authority to claim from a court of law or any authorized institution indicating the individual appointed for the deceased estate). She added that the account is then closed once the claim has been processed.
“The mobile money providers are guided by regulation 29 of the electronic payment services regulations on handling dormant accounts, which makes provisions for a mobile money account that has not registered activity for a period of twelve months to be declared a dormant account,” said Serame.
Serame was further quizzed on how much money has been left pending or unclaimed as a result of the above; and also plans to rectify this problem so that beneficiaries of the deceased can claim the balance.
She stated that the funds held with a commercial bank shall be kept for a period not less than three years, to allow the possibility for claims. She added that where the dormant account funds held with a commercial bank remain unclaimed after the three-year period, the mobile money provider shall transfer such funds and contact information of the customer to the Abandoned Funds Account held with the Bank of Botswana.
“since the electronic payment services regulations were promulgated in 2019, none of the mobile money accounts have been declared dormant and therefore no such funds have been transferred to Bank of Botswana for the credit of the Guardian Fund,” said Serame.
She also revealed the total value for dormant accounts across all mobile money providers as at December 2021 which she said is P3 579 338.49, adding that the value cannot be unbundled further to account for reasons of dormancy such as death. Serame is of the view that the Ministry is not aware of barriers in claiming funds of the deceased from the mobile money operators.
“Bank of Botswana will publish information on declared dormant accounts transferred to the Abandoned Funds Account in local newspapers, three years following the dormancy of the Account as per Regulation 29 (5) of the Electronic Payment Services Regulations,” she stated.