SAFARICOM'S M-PESA SERVICE WINS KEY GLOBAL AWARD

Wednesday, February 16, 2011...Safaricom's mobile money service M-PESA has bagged a major international award.

M-PESA has won the Mobile Money for the Unbanked Award at this year's Global Mobile Awards 2011 which is being held in Barcelona, Spain between February 14th and 17th. The awards are part of the annual Mobile World Congress which brings together players in the global telecoms market and is organized by the GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communications Association).

The category topped by M-PESA recognises innovative, sustainable, pioneering mobile money services around the world that bring low-cost financial services, through mobile, within the reach of low income groups. The award recognises the mobile money service that has had the most significant impact on unbanked customers in developing markets over the last year.

The win extends a five times winning streak by Safaricom M-PESA at the GSMA conference in over a three year period, and is a fitting recognition of its leadership in Mobile Money services.

Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore exalted in the win and said it was a validation of ongoing work to expand the M-PESA service in line with meeting the needs of the Kenyan customer.

"I am delighted and congratulate the M-PESA team. This shows that we are leading the evolution of mobile money from simple transfer to a total mobile commerce solution," he said.

The judges said in their citation: "The success story continues. This solution is enhanced further with the addition of new features and territories. It is winning ground in a way seldom seen in the mobile industry and is a true and sustained success story."

This years entry, put together jointly with Vodafone, covered M-PESA in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, M-Paisa in Afghanistan, India and Fiji, and Vodafone Money Transfer in Qatar, bringing together the strengths and benefits of the service to the firm's customers across the group.,

The GSMA, which organizes the awards, represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry. Spanning 219 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world's mobile operators, as well as more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, and media and entertainment organizations.

Since the launch of M-PESA in just over 3 years, M-PESA has bagged a total of 12 international awards in its contribution to offering financial inclusion to the un-banked in Kenya.

About Safaricom's 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 23,000 Agent outlets countrywide. Over 400 organisations 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.

Safaricom partners with I&M Bank to broaden M-PESA payment services

Move to facilitate online shopping and purchase of goods and services 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011... Integrated communications firm Safaricom has launched a new service that allows M-PESA customers to transfer money from their accounts to a Visa Pre-Paid card.

This follows a partnership between Safaricom and I&M Bank signed at Safaricom headquarters today. Under the agreement, M-PESA users will now be able to transfer their M-PESA to the M-PESA PrePay Safari Card, which is a international Visa card co-branded with I&M Bank.

The M-PESA PrePay Safari Card comes as a major boost in the push to broaden M-PESA services from a money transfer to a total mobile commerce solution.

A first of a kind technology, it allows users to load the M-PESA PrePay Safari Card via their mobile phones, which in turn allows M-PESA subscribers to shop online, pay for hotel accommodation both locally and internationally, and purchase goods and services at over tens of millions of merchant outlets worldwide.

The card can be loaded through M-PESA in Kenya for a subscriber who has travelled internationally thus deepening M-PESA's key propositions of convenience and accessibility. M-PESA customers will also be able to use the card to withdraw cash from over 1.7 million Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) both locally and internationally.

Speaking during the launch, Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore said M-PESA had become a preferred payment mode acceptable to many Kenyans and several businesses due to its inherent simplicity, safety and convenience. 

"The fact that individuals or businesses do not need to incur heavy capital expenditure setting up infrastructure to tap into the business opportunity introduced by M-PESA has been a major accelerator for growth. This development is key for us as it marks a linkage between M-PESA and the world's biggest payment card network, further underlining the service's growth from mobile money transfer to a veritable m-commerce solution."

To leverage on this, Mr. Collymore said Safaricom would continue exploring innovative means to expand M-PESA's reach and menu of services. 

I&M Bank CEO Arun Mathur, speaking at the signing ceremony said even unbanked Kenyans could benefit from the service since holding an account is not a requirement.

"Customers need not have an account with any bank to benefit from the service. We took into consideration the huge unbanked population in Kenya today," said Mr. Mathur.

Users of this service will also enjoy the convenience of online shopping as they can easily pay using the Pre-Paid Visa cards. This also applies to accessing their accounts via the internet.

Stressing the growing need for innovation in the payments system to accommodate the fast changing payment landscape Mr. Charles Niehaus, General Manager, Visa Sub-Saharan Africa noted: "Visa's global scale, products and processing platform offer a unique launch pad for the acceleration and growth of mobile payments and Visa continues to invest heavily in innovations to extend the convenience and security of digital currency to unbanked populations in emerging markets."

Since launch in March 2007, M-PESA has evolved beyond money transfer into a total mobile commerce solution. Towards this end, Safaricom has partnered with various service providers cutting across various sectors of the economy. Over 400 organizations are now accepting bill payments via M-PESA through the Pay Bill functionality.

About M-PESA

The M-PESA service, the first of its kind in the world, was launched on March 2007. As at 31st October, 2010, the service had over 13.5 million customers and 23,000 Agent outlets countrywide.

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 Ksh50 and Ksh70,000 can be deposited, sent or withdrawn per transaction.

About I&M Bank

I&M Bank is a leading commercial bank with 17 branches in Kenya ,3 branches in  Tanzania  and a sister bank in Mauritius called Bank One. I&M Bank has a reputation for developing technologically driven products which offer our customers convenience and security while conducting their transactions.  I&M Bank introduced pre-paid travel cards to cater for that segment of the market that needed

A convenient way to carry their cash when travelling both locally and abroad for shopping or leisure.

A convenient way for sending pocket money and allowances to children studying locally or abroad

A convenient way for employers to pay allowances such as per diem and other travel allowances.

The pre-paid card also meets the needs of the customers who do not need to be subjected to a tedious process of applying for the card, and credit vetting.

 

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