M-Pesa, the popular mobile money program that enables one to send or receive funds through mobile text messages, was first introduced in Kenya when the service initially launched six years ago.
Today there are more 17 million users with more than 100,000 authorized agents across multiple countries, the latest of which is India.
Mobile Payments Today confirms that the unbanked population in India is nearly 700 million. As a result, the much-needed service will be made possible through a partnership between Vodafone India and ICI Bank, which is India’s largest private sector bank.
According to Vodafone, the roll-out follows a successful trial of the product, and will initially be offered through a network of more than 8,300 M-Pesa agents in the eastern part of India, including Kolkata, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand. The rest of India will see the service rolled out in stages.
“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,” says Marten Pieters, managing director and CEO of Vodafone India. “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.”