Mobile money in Africa countries such as Kenya is essentially M-Pesa. (M for mobile, pesa is Swahili for money).
What is M-Pesa?
Launched in 2007 by Vodafone Group plc and Safaricom M-Pesa is Africa's leading mobile money service. It is money and mobile technology solutions for ordinary Africans in their every day lives wanted to transfer funds.
M-Pesa provides access to financial services to the millions of people who have a mobile phone, but do not have or have only limited access to a bank account. M-Pesa provides people with a safe, secure and affordable way to send and receive money, top-up airtime, make bill payments, receive salaries, get a short-term loan and much more.
M-Pesa has spread quickly, and by 2010 had become the most successful mobile-phone-based financial service in the developing world.
M-Pesa enables customers to send, receive and store money safely and securely via a basic smartphone. Markets have launched the M-Pesa smartphone app, providing customers with a digital platform to manage their M-Pesa accounts and also to make faster purchases at merchant points via QR code.
How it works
Customers register for the service at an authorised agent, often this is a small mobile phone store or retailer, and then deposit cash in exchange for electronic money which they can send to their family or friends throughout the country.
Once they have registered, all transactions are completed securely by entering a PIN number and both parties receive an SMS confirming the amount that has been transferred. The recipient, who does not have to use the same network, receives the electronic money in real-time and then redeems it for cash by visiting another agent, or spends it at an M-Pesa merchant. Users are charged a small fee for sending and withdrawing money using the service
As stated above M-Pesa is Africa's most successful mobile money service. The service has been lauded for giving millions of people access to the formal financial system and for reducing crime in otherwise largely cash-based societies.