Decoder: Here Is What Happens To Your Mobile Money Balance When You Die


As the idiom goes, "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes". It is always wise to prepare for one's inevitable demise from this earth and though it might not be the most pressing post-mortem preparation, we found it necessary on this week's Decoder to inform you of what will happen to the thebes and pulas in your Orange Money, MyZaka,PosoMoney and/or Smega accounts when you meet your maker.

Botswana's mobile money is led by three major players. Orange Money leads the pack with over 30% of the market share and P4.5 billion in transactions since its inception in 2011. It is followed by Mascom's MyZaka with P295.8 million in transactions and BTC's Smega with P50 million in transactions.

In the event that a subscriber of one of these services dies, the family of the deceased is required to produce a death certificate and or seek authority from the courts or any veritable authority to attest to them as the rightful beneficiaries. Upon the success of this process, the account of the deceased is then closed.

However, if no one comes forward within a year of the subscriber’s death, the funds are treated as a dormant account as stipulated in the Electronic Payment Services Regulation.

The Electronic Payment Services Regulation calls for the transfer of dormant accounts to a commercial bank where the funds shall be held for a period not exceeding three years. 

If still unclaimed, the mobile money provider is then compelled to deposit the funds into the Bank of Botswana’s Abandoned Funds Account. 

As of December 2021, the dormant accounts across mobile money providers amounted to P3.57 million, with P2.1 million for Orange Money, P1.4 million for My Zaka and P50 000 for Smega.

So there it is folks. Now you know what will happen to your thebes and pulas in your Orange Money, MyZaka and/or Smega account/s when you, unfortunately, kick the bucket. Better spend it while you are still around!

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