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Quite often, we consider “money” and “cash” as synonyms. Whereas “money” is here to stay, “cash” is being eased out of commission thanks to mobile money services.

Human beings have engaged in trade for millenniums. Initially barter was the only way of doing business before metal coins, paper money, cheques and credit cards came into the picture. Now mobile money is revolutionizing how money flows among individuals and even businesses. The uptake of mobile money may appear relatively low with only 140 million users worldwide – 56 million of whom are in Africa. What’s interesting to note is that Kenya accounts for 23 million of these (16% globally and 41% in Africa), 17 million being M-PESA subscribers.

Barely 7 years after it was launched in Kenya, M-PESA has completely redefined how money transactions are made. According to statistics, over Ksh2 billion is transacted on M-PESA daily. This translates to over 40 percent of Kenya’s GDP. Critics or foreigners who don’t know how central M-PESA has become to Kenya’s economy may raise an eyebrow about this.

True, Safaricom pioneered mobile money transfer service and today has the most developed and the fastest growing mobile payment system in the world; but that alone cannot explain why so Kenyans have come to trust M-PESA so much. As the saying goes, ‘Trust is won not given’.

Transparency is key in money matters and this is one factor that has given Safaricom a clear lead in the mobile money market.

Figures don’t lie and Safaricom has won the trust of the people by making data related to M-PESA performance accessible to all. Here are some statistics to illustrate this:

  • There are 78,856 M-PESA agents countrywide
  • 34% of airtime top-ups are done directly through M-PESA
  • The value of person to person (P2P) transfer per month stands at Ksh77.3 billion
  • The value of Person to Business (P2B) per month is Ksh9.9 billion
  • The value of Business to Person (B2P) per month is KES 7.6 Billion
  • Over 36,749 merchants registered for the Lipa Na M-PESA cashless payment service

These figures confirm the real-life experience with M-PESA. One does not have to go far to get an M-PESA agent; there seems to be one around every corner. You no longer need to visit the bank or ATM to withdraw money – you can easily and instantly access it via M-PESA. You don’t have to carry cash when going to the supermarket – M-PESA will do. Queues to pay electricity, water and other bills are getting shorter and shorter thanks to M-PESA. For those who go to church, you may not need to carry cash for tithe – your church most likely has an M-PESA account. And soon, you’ll no longer be required to carry money for bus fare or to fuel your car – Lipa na M-PESA will do the trick.

Judging by this trend, M-PESA is no doubt ushering in a “cashless society” and the number of Kenyans – and even people outside Kenya through other Vodafone Opcos’ – using the service confirms it. To see more statistics for yourself, visit http://nchinampesa.safaricom.co.ke/

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