In March 2007, Vodafone and its Kenyan network partner Safaricom launched a mobile money transfer product called M-PESA. Since then, M-PESA has transferred around £2 billion between customers in Kenya.
Following a three-month trial, M-PESA has now been extended by Safaricom to the UK. This means Kenyans can receive money from friends and family in the UK directly to their M-PESA accounts. It also makes Safaricom the first company to offer a mobile-based international money transfer service.
To send money using M-PESA, people need to visit a participating money transfer agent and give them the recipient’s name, Kenyan mobile number and the amount being sent. A transaction fee is payable by the sender; the money is then transferred to the recipient as Kenya Shillings. Money received via M-PESA can be withdrawn at an M-PESA agent or used to pay bills directly from the M-PESA account. [Press release]