(Business in Cameroon) - The new 0.2% tax that became effective on January 1, 2022, for money transfers, has provided an opportunity for some operators to try to conquer new market shares. While Orange and MTN are announcing that “in the application of the finance law, as of January 1, 2022, a 0.2% tax will become applicable on funds sent and withdrawn,” Express Union and EMI Money are promising unchanged transfer conditions or even fee-free transactions.
“Transaction charges have not changed with us! … No one does it like us. (...) We remain the cheapest,” advertised Emi Money, listing its transaction fees as follows: XAF3,000 at 100, 30,000 at 500, 100,000 at 1,400, 500,000 at 3,500, and 1,000,000 at 4,000.
“With our free transaction campaign, you pay no fee for your transactions between XAF1 and 25,000 via Express Union Mobile Money! It’s free, it’s Express Union Mobile Money !” writes former market leader Express Union, which was reigning over the market before the advent of mobile money.
Since the advent of mobile money technologies in 2011, Express Union and EMI Money [some people claim the two operators are sister companies despite Express Union’s denials] lost ground in the market. During their glory days, the two operators were renowned for their cumbersome documentation requirements. They used to require the national ID card, a filled form, a copy of the ID card, several signatures, flawless names (both of the sender and the recipient) on the forms, and endless lines of people waiting to be served by abusive tellers, etc…
They are trying to set themselves apart by bearing the additional costs created by the new tax instituted by the government. Meanwhile, the tax is criticized by the public opinion and some users even point out that the tax should be borne by operators, not passed onto them.
According to the 2022 finance law, the tax applies to transactions carried out through all the traceable technical platforms (like internet, mobile phone, wire order, telex, fax) except for bank transfers and electronic transactions carried out to pay tax and customs duties. The tax will also be applied to cash withdrawals from financial institutions or mobile telephony operators.