IFC Investment in Tcho Tcho Mobile Helps Bring Mobile Banking to Haiti
Tcho Tcho Mobile, a mobile banking service in Haiti, recently won the 2011 Consumer Service Innovation Award from Global Telecoms Business Magazine. Digicel, a long-term IFC client, provides the phones and networks, Scotia Bank provides the banking services, and IFC equity client Yellow Pepper provides the agents, software, and IT infrastructure that makes it all possible.
Set up in a matter of months after the earthquake, Tcho Tcho Mobile has made banking accessible to the 90 percent of Haitians who don't use banks but do have a mobile phone. The service allows customers to perform basic banking functions, such as withdrawals, deposits, and domestic money transfers to other mobile users.
Businesses can use the service to manage their payroll by transferring money directly into employee accounts and by accepting mobile payments from customers for goods and services.
IFC invested $3 million in the start-up technology firm Yellow Pepper in 2010. IFC also brought in a co-investor who put up an additional $2 million.
Investing in a young firm is always a risk, but the company was led by a strong team and the IFC telecom, media, and technology investment team saw the potential of the firm’s technology to help Haiti and other countries in the region. IFC provided the firm with not only capital but also access to IFC's strong relationships with telecom companies in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Digicel.
Yellow Pepper built the payment infrastructure as well as recruited and trained the agents that work with customers throughout Haiti to use the mobile banking service. The company owns the proprietary payment technology used by Tcho Tcho Mobile and was instrumental in forming the partnership between Scotia Bank and Digicel at the beginning of the process.
Yellow Pepper is transferring its success in Haiti to other countries and currently has projects in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama, and Peru.