YAMU has started paying writers and translators, but making payments is usually a pain. As a once freelance write, one of the bigger issues I’ve had was just getting paid. Even for like Rs. 2,000, you have to travel to their office, go to a bank, and then wait. So not only do you have to spend time and resources to work, you have to also spend time and money to just get paid. We’ve tried to make that easier for our writers using Dialog eZ Cash.
eZ Cash is mobile money. You dial #111# and it’s activated. Then you can top up (deposit) and any shop with Dialog eZ Cash stickers or Laugfs, Dialog Outlets, Singer, Abans, etc. In theory. In practice we tried four kades in Wellawatte (the first time) before we found one that would take our cash. Once there it’s simple, just give them your phone number and cash and you get an SMS that your account is updated. So, yesterday I put 4,000 in, bringing my balance to 6k.
Then, also yesterday, I sent that money to a phone number in Ampara, to pay our translator Irshath. I’ve paid guys in Batticaloa before, through bank deposit, but that still involved finding their bank (in that case Sampath), standing in line, doing paperwork, and then them having to do the same on the other end. In this case I still had to go somewhere (a kade), but they’re getting more aware all the time. This time I was just walking by a kade (in Wella again I think) and they took the money without a fuss.
So how was it to get the money out? I think Irshath is in more of a village than Ampara town and he said he had to try three kades before he found someone interested in paying. That part I did find a bit confusing. Any number of people would want to take money in, but taking 6k out might drain a village kade. Irshath said the employee said he’d have to wait till the boss came back. When the boss came back he did authorize the withdrawal, so that translator is paid. Here’s what he said about the experience.
Communication owners interested in “selling” ez cash but Not interested in paying. Coz they are not ready to dump sum money on paying it and wait couple of days (it may b the case in remote areas) Dialog agent to collect it (ie they set off against their purchase).
May be we need to identify reliable outlets. Easier then withdrawing from Bank counter, bit more work then using an ATM. But one thing for sure, its not that easy as they advertise..
I think that pretty much sums Dialog eZ Cash up. It’s not insanely convenient yet, but it works. For our purposes (paying writers without wasting time or petrol) it works pretty well. It’s faster than checks, less annoying than going to the bank, and far simpler than going to Ampara. So that’s my experience with Dialog eZ Cash. Better than the status quo, but still not quite as awesome as it could be.
Note: YAMU is paying freelance writers to do reviews. We pay about Rs. 500 for original posts, with a few photos preferably, and Rs. 300 for translations. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested. We’re especially looking for original content in Sinhala and Tamil.