The 2010 earthquake in Haiti disrupted bank, microfinance institution, credit union, and remittance paying agent operations. Access to financial services required even greater travel time and longer waits due to damaged roads and destroyed financial institution buildings. The need for convenient, secure and affordable financial services became more apparent than ever.
In response, USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pioneered the Haiti Mobile Money Initiative (HMMI). HMMI provides incentives to encourage private sector development of mobile money services in Haiti, where only an estimated 15 percent of Haitians have access to financial institutions. At the end of 2010, through mobile phone companies Digicel and Voila, the initiative launched two mobile money services, TchoTcho Mobile and T-Cash. Clients are now able to make payments, send and receive transfers, and keep balances safely and conveniently on their mobile phones.
Alain Laporte is the proud father of two children and owner of Recreation, an office supplies store and print shop in St. Marc, which is a two-hour drive from Port-au-Prince. Laporte makes bi-weekly purchases of items to sell in his store by transferring funds to his purchasing agent in Port-au-Prince. Prior to becoming a TchoTcho mobile customer in March, these purchases required Laporte to travel from St. Marc to Port-au-Prince, pay travel fares and pay higher fees to money transfer agents than through the use of mobile money.
Laporte said his profits have increased dramatically by using Tcho Tcho mobile. "It’s the most efficient and practical financial service product I’ve seen in Haiti to date,” he said. “As a result, I’ve decided to also accept Tcho Tcho mobile as a method of payment in my store… With my daughter in college in Port-au-Prince, I’m now also able to send her money through the convenience of my mobile phone.”
By encouraging innovative technologies through HMMI, USAID is improving the way Haitians manage their finances, both in their personal and professional lives.
 HMMI is part of HIFIVE, the Haiti Integrated Finance for Value Chains and Enterprises project funded by USAID and implemented by World Council of Credit Unions and FHI 360.
Last updated: October 03, 2012