Early in November Safaricom, Kenya’s biggest mobile phone services operator, launched anew service on its M-PESA mobile financial services platform that allows users to send and receive money around the world in partnership with a number of established money transfer operators, including Western Union.
The partnerships are part of M-PESA Global, Safaricom’s International Money Transfer (IMT) service which enables local users to receive money from the US, UK, Europe and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from the comfort of their homes or offices through their mobile phones.
The most attractive bit of this development is that through M-PESA Global, Safaricom has made it not only convenient to receive money from abroad for many Kenyans and other users in African countries but also cheaper – actually free.
These partnerships connect M-PESA’s 21 million active users to millions of agents through which they can send and receive money across the borders using their mobile phones.
This is a major winner for most Kenyans, and Africans in general, who are the biggest recipients of remittances from the Diaspora. This money has been coming through banks and other money transfer services, which charge recipients a commission based on the amount received. Besides, receivers would be forced to walk to a bank in the process incurring more expenses.
This means conventional transfer agents inflict a loss of funds for the receivers, a gap that M-PESA Global now plugs by delivering actual amount sent.
Users can send a maximum of US$500 per transaction and US$5,000 per month. The receiver will not be required to pay any transaction fee and both the sender and receiver get SMS notification once the transaction is executed to ensure security.
Under M-PESA Global, transactions sent, say through Western Union or MoneyGram, are received in a matter of minutes directly into the M-PESA account, at any time of the day or night, offering users even more convenience. With M-PESA agents spread across the country in Kenya, a receiver can cash out at the agent next door.
Customers can send money to mobile money users in Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda as well as transfer money from M-PESA directly to bank accounts in the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and Germany, with additional countries coming in a few weeks.
M-PESA Global partners include World Remit, Skrill, mHits, SkyForex, Mapex, PostFinance, Xpress Money, Western Union and XendPay, among others. The new service also encompasses PayPal integration, which allows customers to deposit from M-PESA to PayPal and withdraw from their PayPal accounts to M-PESA.
M-PESA Global customers can send between Ksh100 and Ksh70,000 within one transaction, providing a convenient channel for sending and receiving even smaller amounts from abroad. Transaction charges for M-PESA Global are as below:
|Min||Max||Transaction Charges (Ksh)|
To access M-Pesa Global, Safaricom subscribers can dial *840# or by navigating to “M-PESA Global” under the M-PESA menu on mySafaricomApp.