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Since its inception 7 years ago, M-PESA has continued to lead the world in

mobile money technology. It has revolutionalised the way Kenya does business;
it has been a source of great transformation in the lives of Kenyans. As the world
spins further into the 21st Century, the future of M-PESA is promising, revealing
more opportunities to bring positive change and progress to Kenya and the

M-Pesa (M for mobile, pesa is Swahili for money) is a mobile-phone based money transfer
and micro financing service, launched in 2007 by Vodafone for Safaricom and Vodacom, the
largest mobile network operators in Kenya and Tanzania. It has since expanded to Afghanistan,
South Africa, India and in 2014 to Eastern Europe. M-Pesa allows users with a national ID card
or passport to deposit, withdraw, and transfer money easily with a mobile device.

is a fast, secure and convenient way to transact on mobile brought to you by Vodafone,
through its wholly owned subsidiary Mobile Commerce Solutions Limited (MCSL) in
association with ICICI Bank.
MCSL has been authorized by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) under Payment and Settlement
Systems Act, 2007 for Setting up and Operating a Payment System in India. MCSL is also a
business correspondent of ICICI Bank.
Note: m-pesa is a registered trademark of Vodafone and is now available across India.

In 2002, researchers at Gamos and the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation,
funded by Department for International Development UK, documented that in
Uganda,Botswana and Ghana, people were spontaneously using airtime as a proxy for money
transfer. Africans were transferring airtime to their relatives or friends who were then using it or
reselling it. Gamos researchers approached MCel in Mozambique, and in 2004 MCel introduced
the first authorised airtime credit swapping a precursor step towards M-Pesa. The idea was
discussed by the Commission for Africa and DFID introduced the researchers to Vodafone who
had been discussing supporting microfinance and back office banking with Mobile phones. S
Batchelor (Gamos) and N Hughes (Vodafone CSR) discussed how a system of money transfer
could be created in Kenya. DFID amended the terms of reference for its grant to Vodafone, and
piloting began in 2005. In April 2007, following a student software development project from
Safaricom launched a new mobile phone based payment and money transfer service,
known as M-Pesa. The service allows users to deposit money into an account stored on their cell
phones, to send balances using SMS technology to other users, including sellers of goods and
services, and to redeem deposits for regular money. Users are charged a small fee for sending
and withdrawing money using the service. M-Pesa has spread quickly, and by 2010 had become
the most successful mobile phone based financial service in the developing world. By 2012, a
stock of about 17 million M-Pesa accounts had been registered in Kenya.
The initial work of developing the product was given to a product and technology development

known as Sagentia. Development and second line support responsibilities were
transferred to IBM in September 2009, where most of the original Sagentia team transferred to.
The initial concept of M-Pesa was to create a service which allowed microfinance borrowers to
conveniently receive and repay loans using the network of Safaricom airtime resellers.This
would enable microfinance institutions (MFIs) to offer more competitive loan rates to their users,
as costs are lower than when dealing in cash. The users of the service would gain through being
able to track their finances more easily. When the service was piloted, customers adopted the
service for a variety of alternative uses and complications arose with Faulu, the partnering MFI.
In discussion with other parties, M-Pesa was re-focused and launched with a different value
proposition: sending remittances home across the country and making payments.
M-Pesa is a branchless banking service, meaning that it is designed to enable users to complete
basic banking transactions without visiting a bank branch. The continuing success of M-Pesa in
Kenya has been due to the creation of a highly popular, affordable payment service with only
limited involvement of a bank.
M-Pesa is also criticized for stopping the government from getting seigniorage revenues.

M-Pesa is operated by Safaricom and Vodacom, mobile network
operators (MNO) not classed as deposit-taking institutions, such as a bank. M-
Pesa customers can deposit and withdraw money from a network of agents that
includes airtime resellers and retail outlets acting as banking agents. The service
enables its users to:
deposit and withdraw money
transfer money to other users and non-users
pay bills
purchase airtime
transfer money between the service and, in some markets like Kenya, a bank
A partnership with Kenya-based Equity Bank launched M-KESHO,
a product using M-PESAs platform and agent network, that offers expanded
banking services like interest-bearing accounts, loans, and insurance.

The user interface technology of M-Pesa differs between Safaricom of Kenya
and Vodacom of Tanzania, although the underlying platform is the same. While
Safaricom uses SIM toolkit (STK) to provide handset menus for accessing the
service, Vodacom relies mostly on USSD to provide users with menus, but also
supports STK.

Cost, transaction charges, statistics[edit]
The transaction charges range is from 66% down to 0.16% depending who is
involved and the amount of money:

up to 66% for a transfer to an unregistered user
up to 30% for a transfer to a registered user
the lowest transfer rate is 0.16% to a registered user for KSH 70'000 (800
USD, 580 EUR)
the cost for withdrawing money from an M-Pesa agent reach from 20% max
to min 0.47%

Regulation and KYC rules[edit]
M-Pesa sought to engage Kenyan regulators and keep them updated on the
development process. M-Pesa also reached out to international regulators, such
as the UK's Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Payment Card Industry
(PCI) to understand how best to protect client information and adhere to
internationally recognized best practices.

Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements impose obligations on prospective
clients and on banks to collect identification documents of clients and then to
have those documents verified by banks.
The Kenyan government issues
national identity cards that M-Pesa leveraged in their business processes to
satisfy their KYC requirements.

M-Pesa obtained a "special" license from regulators, despite concerns by
regulators about non-branch banking adding to the current state of financial