The Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications says recent viral messages purporting that mobile money operators confiscate funds in the wallet of users who have passed on cannot be true as there are laid down processes to accessing such funds.
Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, Ing. Ken Ashigbey, explained to Citi Business News that the Payment Systems and Services Act (Act 987), which regulates the activities of mobile money spells the modalities for wallets that have been dormant and for holders who have passed on.
According to Article 33 (4) of the Act, mobile money companies are requested to transfer monies of persons who have passed on, together with any identifiable pieces of information, to a special account held at the Bank of Ghana.
“What we would advise is that; once you have anyone who has died, what you have to do is to approach any of the three mobile money companies and report it to them with the right documentations; ie letters of administration or a will that says you are the executor. They will authenticate whether you are the right person, and if proven so, they will take you through the process,” he said.
This, according to him, is the normal process for every financial institution in order to release funds of persons who have passed on.
The Act states that for an account to be declared dormant, it must have gone a 12-month period without registering any transaction; after which a notification will be sent to the holder and subsequently funds transferred to the BoG.
On the issue of whether mobile money companies take details of the ‘Next of Kin’ of potential account holders, he confirmed it as being one of the Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements put in place by the operators.
According to him, people who have lost their loved ones are always advised to check with the mobile money companies for accounts that they may have left behind.
But in an interview with Citi Business News, some Ghanaians in Accra said they had never been made to fill any forms that specifically asks for the details of the next of kin during registration for the MoMo service.
On the contrary, two other people who spoke to Citi Business News said they actually filled portions of the forms that captured their next of kins.
For some MoMo users, they said they do not remember ever providing such information during the registration for the service.