CBA Uganda has taken note of the OpEd article that was published by The Daily Monitor on Monday September 19, 2016 under the title, Revisit consumer rights in MoKash mobile money service.”  We would like to clarify a few facts about the MoKash terms and conditions that have been misrepresented in the article.

MoKash is a savings and loans proposition that was launched in August as a result of a strategic partnership between CBA Uganda and MTN. MTN customers can now securely save their money in an interest bearing savings account and in addition access micro loans for personal or business utilization.

While the article correctly states that customers can save any amount while earning an interest or take out short term loans of 30 days, it also mentions that one must have “a fixed deposit account in CBA in order to access the service.” which is not the case. All MTN mobile money customers are eligible to register for the Mokash service, irrespective of whether they have or do not have a bank account with in any banking institution in Uganda.

Upon signing up, through dialing the USSD code *165*5#, the customer has to read and accept terms and conditions and provide confirmation for a MoKash savings account to be automatically created on CBA’s banking platform.  The MoKash account is created using the customer’s bio data, provided during the SIM and Mobile Money registration process with MTN.    The account is created within seconds and the customer is then able to start their saving or loan activity via their MoKash account instantly.  

Part of the MTN team at the official launch of MoKash in August 2016. File Photo.
Part of the MTN team at the official launch of MoKash in August 2016. File Photo.

We also noted that the article states that the customer does not receive the same loan amount as they request for. The customer is able to borrow any amount that falls within their loan limit, as assigned by the bank and as is standard practice in the banking sector. For a customer to know the loan limit they qualify for, they dial *165*5#, Select MoKash, Loan, and then select Check Loan Limit. When a customer requests for a loan, they receive the exact amount requested within their loan limit.

For example, if a customer requests for a MoKash loan of Shs 10,000 and this amount is within their loan limit, the customer gets the exact amount credited onto their MTN Mobile Money account, and then Shs.10,000 plus 900 (loan facilitation fee) is payable within 30 days.

The MoKash loan bears a 9% facility fee that’s paid off when the customer is making a loan repayment. The 9% charge is not an interest charge but rather a one-off loan facilitation fee charged as the cost of processing the loan. All other MoKash services including sign up, deposits, withdrawals and auto Savings are free.

At sign up, the customer’s initial “Loan Limit” is based on their utilization of MTN services such as MTN Airtime, MTN Mobile Money, MTN Data as well as how long the customer has been on the MTN network. Post registration, the bank reviews the customers’ activity on MoKash in terms of their savings and loan repayment behavior and determines what limit to assign. A customer’s loan limit is readily available and instantly visible on the MoKash Menu. It can be viewed before a customer attempts to borrow.

Operationally, the relationship between MoKash customers and the service providers is managed by MTN, as part of the partnership agreement between MTN and CBA Uganda. A dedicated customer care team is in place to directly address queries raised by customers and can be reached through the toll-free helpline 122, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.  All MoKash related queries and complaints received through any of the MTN service centers or toll-free helplines are managed by a team of sufficiently skilled and experienced staff from MTN and CBA Uganda.

CBA Uganda and MTN have also ensured that the terms and conditions are available on their websites which can be accessed virtually at any time. The website was agreed as a digital alternative to the traditional forms that require a customer to walk into a bank branch for sign off.  The terms and conditions are availed to the customer during the sign up process, before they provide their confirmation for the registration to complete.

MoKash is a savings and loans banking product of CBA Uganda, rolled out in partnership with MTN. CBA Uganda is regulated by the Bank of Uganda and operates this service within the strict framework and guidelines provided by Bank of Uganda.

The CBA group has operated a similar service in Kenya and Tanzania for four years, positively transforming the lives of over 20 million people who use this service in both countries.

CBA Uganda and MTN are committed to making a contribution towards making access to finance for both personal as well as commercial needs, easier and cheaper for all Ugandans regardless of where they are in the country.

Delivery Manager – Digital Financial Services, Commercial Bank of Africa Uganda Limited (CBA Uganda)