Vodafone’s Money Transfer, commonly known as M-PESA, is a highly successful money transfer service which has arrived in Europe after being launched in Romania yesterday.
The service enables users who do not have a bank account, or limited access to one, to send and receive money, top-up air time, make bill payments and make a deposit or withdraw cash from participating stores through their mobile phone based on simple text messaging technology.
The service has been extremely successful in Kenya, Africa, providing people with a safe method of transferring money – particularly for many Africans who do not have bank accounts or have to travel a long way to reach their bank branch in more rural areas.
In Romania, cash is a common payment medium. It is thought that the M-PESA service roll out will initially reach 6 million people in both urban and rural areas through 300 Vodafone stores, followed by an expansion to 2,000 stores across the country by the end of 2014.
“The majority of people in Romania have at least one mobile device, but more than one-third of the population do not have access to conventional banking. Vodafone M-Pesa is already used regularly by nearly 17m customers and we look forward to bringing the benefits of the service to the people of Romania,” Michael Joseph, Director of Mobile Money, Vodafone
Vodafone statement: Developed by Vodafone, M-Pesa had approximately 16.8 million active customers as at 31 December 2013 and approximately186,000 authorised agents worldwide. Vodafone M-Pesa customers make in excess of €900 million worth of person-to-person transactions per month. Many other businesses are using the service to allow their customers to pay them easily and safely. Additionally in Kenya, Safaricom and Vodafone launched a savings and loans product in November 2012, called M-Shwari, in partnership with the Commercial Bank of Africa. The addition of Romania continues the expansion of M-Pesa globally, following the launches in Egypt, India, Lesotho and Mozambique, over the past 12 months.