Vodafone, the operator behind the global M-Pesa mobile payment service, has announced an agreement with Moneygram to further its ability to transfer funds via handsets. Moneygram is a money transfer and payment services company, with 334,000 agents in some 200 countries.
The agreement will enable consumers to transfer funds directly to the 16 million active of users of M-Pesa. The service will be launched in key markets during the second quarter of 2014, with additional roll-out planned throughout the remainder of the year. As well as visiting agents to make transfers, MoneyGram customers can also transfer money to an M-Pesa user through its website or via a smartphone app.
“There is huge demand for sending funds back to family and friends in your home market and an estimated $90bn per year is transferred to M-Pesa markets from around the globe,” said Michael Joseph, Vodafone Director of M-Pesa.”
The World Bank estimated in 2012 that more than half of all inhabitants in the countries in which M-Pesa is available do not have access to a traditional bank account. With most of these inhabitants belonging to low-income rural areas and becoming increasingly reliant on cross-border transfers, mobile money provides a simple and low-cost method for geographically dispersed families to bank and transfer funds.
“We’re excited about the opportunity to leverage our powerful platform to expand our reach to these digital channels,” said Alex Hoffmann, SVP of global product management and emerging channels at MoneyGram. “This agreement furthers our goal of joining with fast and reliable mobile wallets so consumers may send money for life’s essentials anywhere and any way they want, simply and conveniently.”
The M-Pesa service is available in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Fiji, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania. Additional markets are due to launch M-Pesa during 2014. Additionally in Kenya, Safaricom and Vodafone recently launched a savings and loans product in partnership with the Commercial Bank of Africa.
With some 165,000 authorised agents worldwide, the service has fast become the leader in mobile payments. Vodafone says its active customers make in excess of €900 million worth of transactions per month.
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