M-PESA Services Goes Global via Alliance With Western Union

M-PESA's 13.5 million subscribers can now receive international money transfers from 45 countries and territories worldwide

NAIROBI, Kenya, Thursday, March 31, 2011.....Safaricom M-PESA's 13.5 million customers can now receive international money transfers from 45 countries and territories thanks to an agreement between Safaricom and Western Union.

Using any of the 80,000 Western Union agent locations across the globe, including the U.S, Canada, Italy and the U.K., customers can simply and conveniently send the money direct to the M-PESA "mobile wallet" of their friends or family members.

This is the largest deal of its kind in the world; no other Kenya operator can receive money from as many countries. The service rides on Western Union's worldwide network for processing cross-border remittances and the unprecedented success of M-PESA; a mobile money transfer service in Kenya offered by Safaricom, which has attracted more than 13.5 million customers since its launch in 2007.

The service will be welcomed by thousands of Kenyans working abroad. According to the Central Bank of Kenya, Kenyans living outside their home country sent US$642 million home in 2010 – up from the US$609 million sent home in 2009.

Speaking at Safaricom headquarters in Nairobi, CEO Bob Collymore said, "Our customers are very proud of the revolutionary M-PESA service, and this partnership sees us pushing new boundaries to continue to keep Kenya at the forefront of the mobile world. Through this partnership, our customers and their friends and families will benefit from affordable, faster and more convenient international remittances, and the money is available to use straightaway for any M-PESA transaction, or can be withdrawn as cash at any of our 24,000 Safaricom agents."

"We are pleased to extend our service with Safaricom, and we look forward to adding additional functionality for M-PESA users in the near future," said David Yates, Executive Vice President and President, Business Development and Innovation, Western Union.

About Safaricom M-PESA

The M-PESA service, the first of its kind in the world, was launched in March 2007. As at 31st December 2010, the service had over 13.5 million customers and over 24,000 Agent outlets countrywide. Over 600 organizations are now accepting Bill Payment via M-PESA.

The service does not require users to have a bank account; an important aspect in Kenya, where millions of people do not operate bank accounts. With M-PESA, account holders can buy electronic funds at an M-PESA agent and send the electronic value to any other mobile phone user in the country, who can then redeem it for conventional cash at any M-PESA agent.

M-PESA customers can hold up to Ksh100,000 in their M-PESA account at any one time, and can do transactions of up to Ksh140,000 in a day. Between Ksh 50 and Ksh70,000 can be deposited, sent or withdrawn per transaction.

About Western Union

The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions-branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. The Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta-branded services are offered through a combined network of 447,000 Agent locations in 200 countries and territories. In 2010, The Western Union Company completed 214 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $76 billion of principal between consumers, and 405 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.


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