Cellphone group Vodacom and its partner, financial services firm Nedbank, will launch M-Pesa, Kenya’s wildly popular money transfer service, in SA at the end of August.
The two companies have set 31 August as the date for the product’s official SA launch.
Earlier this year, Vodacom parent, the UK’s Vodafone, said introducing M-Pesa in SA would “enable millions of mobile phone subscribers who have access to a cellphone, but do not have or have only limited access to a bank account, to send and receive money via their phones”.
It’s estimated 26m people in SA do not have bank accounts, and it’s a market that not only Nedbank and Vodacom are hoping to target with cellphone-based services. Absa, Standard Bank and First National Bank have all launched mobile banking and transactional products hoping to bank the country’s unbanked and under-banked.
The M-Pesa service was developed by Vodafone and has been deployed by Safaricom in Kenya – the product’s most successful market. It’s also available from Vodacom in Tanzania and Roshan in Afghanistan, where it is branded M-Paisa, and by earlier this year had more than 11m registered customers using it for money transfer, airtime top-up and bill payments.
Vodafone first announced plans to launch M-Pesa in SA at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, in February. — Staff reporter, TechCentral