PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Dec. 3, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Haitian wireless operator Voila, a subsidiary of Seattle-based Trilogy International Partners, and UNIBANK, Haiti's premier bank, have launched T-Cash, Haiti's first mobile money solution. A groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind service in Haiti, hundreds of thousands of the country's 'unbanked' population and Haitians in regions unreached by traditional financial service providers will now have access to a full suite of banking and m-commerce services through their Voila mobile phone. By leveraging UNIBANK's nationwide network of merchants and tapping into Voila's base of over 1 million subscribers, this partnership creates a valuable financial ecosystem with the potential to impact millions of Haitians throughout the country. In partnership with applications service provider MoreMagic, Voila and UNIBANK have delivered their mobile payment solutions in a secure, hosted, and fully managed environment.
"We're very excited to bring the latest in mobile technology to Haiti where the acute needs of the Haitian people require fast action and mobility," said Brad Horwitz, President& CEO of Trilogy International Partners. "Voila has been operating in Haiti for over a decade, and is well positioned to bring and expand its mobile money service to the entire Haitian population safely, securely and efficiently."
Whereas there are very few bank branches per capita; over 85% of Haitian households have access to a mobile phone. With T-Cash, Voila subscribers throughout Haiti now have the ability to complete domestic peer-to-peer money transfers, bill pay, payroll services, and expanded mobile commerce capabilities. An initial and unique feature of the T-Cash service will be a 'mini wallet.' The mini wallet allows Voila subscribers to immediately activate the T-Cash service and store up to 2500HTG ($62.50 USD) by entering *700# on their Voila mobile phone. This easy to use, mini wallet feature will allow for rapid, widespread adoption and access nationwide. Voila and UNIBANK are gearing up to establish over a thousand affiliated merchants and cash in/cash out locations throughout the country by January, 2011.
"UNIBANK is proud to participate with its technological partner, Voila, in the launch of the first electronic wallet service in Haiti," said F. Carl Braun, Chairman of UNIBANK. "In doing so, UNIBANK perpetuates its tradition of technological leadership in the financial sector. The T-Cash service will be critical for the extension of banking services beyond traditional branches and the inclusion of the non-banked population particularly in rural areas. With the electronic wallet, financial services will be instantly available throughout the country," Braun said.
The wide-scale commercial launch of T-Cash comes after an extensive nine month pilot program with global relief and development agency Mercy Corps. Mercy Corps' pioneering efforts to use T-Cash in their humanitarian cash programs opened the door for Haiti's rural poor and micro-businesses to gain access to financial services. The program provided an opportunity to test the new service, gauge user reactions, and incorporate feedback into training procedures and future service offerings. Customers' response to T-Cash has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic, showing that Haitians are ready to embrace mobile money as a safe and reliable option to meet their transactional needs.
"It's not the first time that I've had a phone, but this time it is different," said Pierre Louis Jacques, a 43 year old Haitian father who participated in one of the pilot programs. "I wait for my payment eagerly and without worry. With my money, I'm going to buy food and pay for school for my children. I like this way of paying – the process is easy to learn and there's less risk involved," said Jacques.
Voila has already been instrumental in providing local and international communications service to over one million Haitian customers, thousands of relief workers, a variety of international NGOs, and U.S. government agencies working in Haiti. Since the earthquake struck, wireless has been at the center of first responders' efforts to identify and rescue survivors, spread critical information on vaccinations and food distributions, and provide health services.
UNIBANK has been actively involved in providing critical payment solutions for numerous NGOs enabling them to stimulate the economy through job creation programs, and provide lifelines to hundreds of thousands left destitute by the earthquake. The bank's ability to open its doors to the public shortly after the events of January 12th was key to maintaining confidence in the banking system and provided the peace of mind its many clients needed to start the rebuilding process.
The T-Cash platform is available to relief organizations, NGOs and government agencies throughout the country. Any organization interested in deploying mobile money solutions in Haiti can send inquiries directly to tcash@Voila.ht or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Voila and UNIBANK will hold a press conference at 10:30 AM on Monday, December 6, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where attendees can see live demonstrations of the technology in action and learn how mobile money services are contributing to the reconstruction of Haiti and revolutionizing the country's banking services. To RSVP, please contact Emmanuel Jean-Francois at ejeanfrancois@Voila.ht.
Journalists or individuals seeking more information on the expansion of mobile money technology in Haiti can view a documentary produced by the Sundance Institute and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at http://www.sundance.org/videos/gates/making-money-mobile/.
Voila is a leading mobile telecommunications operator in Haiti, providing high-quality, affordable wireless service to well over a million subscribers. Since its inception over 10 years ago, it has invested over US$200 million in Haiti. Voila employs over 500 local staff and provides indirect employment to more than 25,000 Haitians through a micro-enterprise venture whereby local entrepreneurs sell time and minute recharges on a customized cell phone. Voila is a subsidiary of Trilogy International Partners LLC, a privately-held company based in Bellevue, WA. In December 2009 Voila received the US Department of State's prestigious Award for Corporate Excellence from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. In early 2009 Voila was selected as one of ten (10) finalists by the Organization of American States for its corporate citizenship in the Americas. For more information on Voila, please see its website: www.Voila.ht.
About Trilogy International Partners, LLC
Trilogy International Partners, LLC (Trilogy) is a privately-held company based in Bellevue, WA. Trilogy invests in wireless telecommunication operations in international markets that exhibit strong opportunities for significant growth. Trilogy and its businesses owns wireless communications systems in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, and New Zealand, holding licenses to provide wireless services to over 31 million people. For more information on Trilogy, please see its website: www.trilogy-international.com.
Since its inception in July 1993, UNIBANK has emerged as Haiti's fastest-growing bank and has transformed itself into Haiti's leading financial institution, striking the imagination, providing innovation and constantly introducing new products and services. UNIBANK is Haiti's largest bank, with assets exceeding USD 1 billion. UNIBANK is the flagship company of Groupe Financier National (GFN) ® a conglomerate of 15 enterprises located in Haiti and abroad, with 850,000 customers in Haiti and 270,000 Haitian customers living abroad. The Group has 1,828 employees and 568 points of services comprising 45 UNIBANK branches and 20 additional offices specializing in Micro finance, credit card services, investment banking, retail consumer credit, and financial and economic consulting. UNITRANSFER, the remittance company of the Group, has 186 offices and remittance paying-agents throughout Haiti and 317 International offices and agents in the United States, Canada and various countries in the Caribbean. For more information on UNIBANK, see its website: www.unibankhaiti.com.
SOURCE Trilogy International Partners, LLC