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“We have the evidence and we know who those agents are – we are to suspend agents for now. But if they do it again we will completely blacklist them,” Mr Hini made this known when he interacted with ABC News Gh in an interview recently.
Recall that MTN implemented the “No ID, No cash out” policy on Good Friday, April 2, 2021 with the aim to ensure that the only person who can make a cash out from a particular wallet is the owner of that wallet.
The policy therefore require every person to present a valid photo ID to the mobile money agent and the agent is required to enter the number of the ID into the system during the cash out transaction before the cash out is allowed.
But some agents have made it a practice to use their personal ID cards or other persons ID card to make cash outs for customers who do not present IDs.
For instance, two customers, Abigail Tettey and Cecilia Asare (phone numbers withheld) reported making separate cash outs from an agent at Gbawe without their ID cards.
According to them, the agent didn’t even ask for it.
In another instant, one agent complained that when he sends customers away to go get their IDs, they go to another agent next door, and that agent does the cash out for them without the ID.
Eli Hini explained that the reason that is possible now is because what the MTN system does at the backend is to authenticate the validity of the ID used, and not to check if the ID matches that of the one used in registering the wallet.
“If we say we want to check the ID submitted for cash out against the ID used in registering the wallet, a lot of cash out transactions will be disallowed because many of the IDs used in registering wallets have expired.
“Secondly, we are not sure how long it will take to query the the specific national ID system to verify an ID presented for a cash out – so to prevent the delays, we only authenticate the validity of the ID used at our backend and allow the cash out,” he explained.
Eli Hini said due to the current situation where the various national IDs have not been properly centralized, the success of the “No ID, no cash out” policy will largely depend on the mobile money agents commitment to the directive.
He noted that after the cash out is done, MTN later does reconciliations between the IDs on the wallet and the IDs presented for cash out and some of it came out as a mismatch, which is unacceptable on the part of the agent.
According to him, the agents are fully aware of the consequences of violating the directive and those who have found out now will be used as examples to deter others.
The MTN MobileMoney CEO said going forward, once the national ID are all properly centralized, MTN will invest into have access to it locally, at its own backend to ensure a speedy verification of ID for cash out transactions.
“That cannot happen now so we have to depend on the agents and sanctions will whip the agents into line,” he said.
Information from Africawish was also used in this report.