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WRONG MOBILE MONEY TRANSFER : Customers Can Recover their Money

The directorate of payment systems by means of the Bank of Central African States (Beac), has just issued a circular instituting the “refund of erroneous fund transfers by payment service providers (PSP)”. Henceforth it will be possible for any Mobile Money services user to recover his money if the recipient of the mobile Money transfer is wrong or if he notices errors in the coordinates.

The process of transferring money by Mobile Money was irreversible until now, which means that users, in case of confusion of the recipient, could only rely on the good faith of the latter to get back in possession of what is owed to them. Thus, according to BEAC’s circular, transfers or payment orders by Mobile Money are now credited to the beneficiary’s account five minutes after notification. During these five minutes, the ordering client will ask his operator to refund the transferred amount if he notices that the beneficiary is wrong or if he has made a mistake on the latter’s contact details.

« Upon receipt of the refund request, the Payment service Provider who is the account holder of the erroneous beneficiary must, on the one hand, automatically freeze, and make unavailable the disputed funds and, on the other hand, inform his beneficiary client of this refund request and of the immediate freezing of the funds. The erroneous beneficiary is invited to validate the return of the funds or to dispute it via a notification communicated to his payment service provider, account holder with copy to the refund applicant », emphasizes the circular.

If the transfer request is accepted by the beneficiary, the funds are returned to the sender within a maximum of 48 hours. Otherwise, the funds are frozen and the client may take legal action. « The dispute or refusal to refund must be notified to the applicant through his payment service provider account holder. This notification is valid as a title or as a supporting document to file any legal actions ».

Moreover, the refund request can be made beyond the 5 minutes mentioned above and in this case, the funds will only be frozen if the balance of the beneficiary account is greater than or equal to the amount to be frozen.

The new measure proposed by the Beac has to be implemented by the various operators no later than March 31, 2024. The central bank also obliges the latter to insert these novelties in the general terms and conditions of their bearer contracts and merchant contracts. The interest of such a measure is, according to the Beac, to protect the consumer, increase confidence in the use of payment accounts and instant transfers and guarantee the irrevocability of instant payment orders.

Recall that Cameroon acts as a leader in mobile money in the Cemac zone. 57.7 % of these mobile money accounts in the region are domiciled in this country, i.e. 21.6 million accounts, according to Beac data. In 2022, 69.14 % of Mobile Money transactions in volume were listed in the country, and 73.75 % in value.

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