Vodafone India has partnered with ICICI Bank to launch the M-Pesa mobile money transfer and payment service in India. It’s estimated that approximately 700 million people in the country have no access to conventional banking.
M-Pesa was first launched in Kenya in 2007, allowing customers to send and receive small amounts of money on mobile phones. Over 17 million people currently use the service in a total of eight countries.
The Indian service is launching via over 8,300 M-Pesa agents in eastern areas of India before being rolled out to the rest of the country. Customers will be able to deposit and withdraw cash from authorised outlets, transfer money to any mobile phone in India, pay money into any bank account in India, ‘Top-up’ airtime on a mobile device, pay utility bills and make purchases at selected shops.
Marten Pieters, Managing Director and CEO of Vodafone India, said “For millions of people in India, a mobile phone is a bank account, a front door to a micro-business or a lifeline to people in the remotest areas. Research shows that M-Pesa brings real benefits to users in their daily lives, saving three hours a week of their time and around $3 in money transfer costs - a significant amount to people in some areas. In partnership with ICICI Bank, we will provide people in remote areas with a convenient way to bank, transfer money and make payments in a safe and secure manner. We have customised our offering to serve the needs of Indian customers while ensuring its compliance with all applicable regulations. Financial inclusion is a national priority and we believe that with M-Pesa, we now have the ideal offering to enable this.”