The Aesthetics of Mobile Money Platforms in Haiti

Authored by: Erin B. Taylor , Heather A. Horst

The Routledge Companion to Mobile Media

Print publication date:  April  2014
Online publication date:  May  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415809474
eBook ISBN: 9780203434833
Adobe ISBN: 9781135949181


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Mobile money is touted as a promising new way to “bank the unbanked” and as a “product for the poor” 1 for the three-quarters of the world’s population who lack access to a formal bank account. 2 Not tied to an actual bank account, it allows people to send small amounts of money at low cost from their own mobile phones. 3 In Haiti, mobile money was introduced after the earthquake of January 2010 as a way for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to move money, given that widespread damage to financial, communications, and transport infrastructure had crippled Haiti’s underdeveloped financial system. 4 It became publicly available in November 2010, with two mobile money services originally operating: Digicel’s service, called TchoTcho Mobile, and Voilá’s service, called T-Cash. The two services were very similar in what they offered and their pricing structures. 5 Like M-PESA, 6 Kenya’s highly successful mobile banking system, mobile money allows customers to transfer small amounts of money at a far lower cost than through formal transfer services such as Western Union. Today, mobile money services are available in fifty-eight countries around the world and are viewed as one of the most novel innovations of mobile media platforms. 7

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