British telecommunications company Vodafone, are today (21 February) celebrating the 10th anniversary of M-PESA, the world’s leading mobile money service.
M-PESA (M for mobile, pesa is Swahili for money) is a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and micro financing service, launched in 2007 by Vodafone for Safaricom in Kenya. Safaricom is 40% owned by Vodafone.
It was originally designed as a system to allow microfinance-loan repayments to be made by phone, reducing the costs associated with handling cash. But after the pilot, testing it was broadened to become a general money-transfer scheme.
M-PESA enables customers to safely and securely send, receive and store money via a basic mobile phone. In December 2016, a record 614 million M-Pesa transactions were processed.
The service allows Kenyans to transfer money without requiring a bank account. A user buys digital funds from an M-PESA agent and send that electric cash to any other mobile phone user in Kenya, who can then redeem it for conventional cash at any agent.
Vodafone Group Managing Director of M-Pesa, Michael Joseph, said: “M-Pesa is a revolution that has empowered tens of millions of people in some of the poorest communities in the world to start and grow businesses and gain greater financial resilience. All of us at Vodafone are very proud of how M-Pesa has enhanced our customers’ daily lives.”