Mobile money system M-Pesa, a service that originated in Kenya through Safaricom, in which Vodafone has a 40% stake, is making its way to Europe for the first time.
The service is be introduced in Romania, reportedly the first time a mainstream mobile money service has made its way to the European continent.
Vodafone says it will offer a “simple, safe and secure” mobile money transfer and payment service to the approximately 7m Romanians who transact in cash. Banking customers will also be able to transfer and access money through their mobile phones.
The service makes use of text messaging and will work on any of Vodafone Romania’s network connections. Users are able to transfer from as little as 1 Romanian leu (R3,28) up to 30 000 leu (R98 365).
M-Pesa in Kenya now has a 17m strong user base. The mobile money service has only been hugely successful in Kenya, but has also enjoyed success in Tanzania, where the user base was 5m in May 2013. It has also been launched in South Africa, Afghanistan and India, Egypt, Lesotho and Mozambique.
Vodacom, in partnership with Nedbank launched the service in South Africa in September 2010, to reach an estimated 13m people with bank accounts, but the service has been a failure, managing to attract only 100 000 customers. Vodacom is understood to be working to relaunch the service.
M-Pesa targets developing markets where millions don’t have bank formal accounts, but where they do have mobile handsets, says a report on Gigaom. — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media