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MTN and Moov Africa have significantly reduced the fees for mobile money in the West African nation of Benin, reports from the economic capital Cotonou said this week.

Moov Africa Benin announced on Monday that it has slashed its mobile money withdrawal fees from FCFA100 to a mere FCFA25. However, the fees will increase as the amounts to be withdrawn become large. Sending is free as long as the user does it via its Moov Money application or via USSD code *855*1*1#.

As for MTN Benin, its fees are reduced to zero for any transfer operation made through its Momo application, which can be downloaded via Play Store. 

The new prices have been met with mixed reactions in Cotonou, the economic capital, where the two operators are headquartered and where at least half of Benin mobile users live. "This is an early Christmas present. I'm delighted," Sylvain, a Moov and MTN user and young entrepreneur based in Cotonou.

Sylvain, who deals mostly with unbanked customers, said it was time that the two operators took what he described as a wise decision.

"Many people in Benin still don’t have bank accounts and rely solely on mobile money to access finance. Mobile money fees in Benin were too high compared to countries such as Cote d'Ivoire," he told Biztech Africa on Wednesday.

"Why only slash the prices now? They are afraid of Wave because they know that it will eat them alive and everyone will abandon them. We have been complaining all these years about the greed of MTN and Moov. But nobody listens to us. even the regulator turned a blind eye," Hyppolyte, a university student, said.

Wave, which is already successfully operating in Senegal and Cote d'Ivoire, said its mobile money deposit and withdrawal are free. The user will only pay 1% for all account-to-account transfers.

Wave, an American fintech similar to PayPal, hopes to make an triumphal entry in Benin and other African countries, where thousands of mobile users seem to be impatiently waiting for it .

"We are ready for Wave. We are tired of being conned by MTN and Moov, especially with exorbitant internet prices," George, a motorbike driver, said.

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