Friday, January 15, 2010

New Partnership between Mobile-Money provider M-Pesa and Kenyan bank expands reach to Neighboring Countries

Safaricom mobile money transfer service subscribers can now withdraw cash from Equity's Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) following a partnership with the bank that will not only increase the withdraw points but also deal with the challenge many of its agents at times face of lack of liquidity.

It will also allow non-Equity account holders to withdraw their money from the M-Pesa account at any of the bank's branches including those in neighbouring countries such as Uganda and Southern Sudan.

The move will also enable Kenyans in Uganda and Southern Sudan to with draw money from M-Pesa at official rates by the provider.

Although, Safaricom has not officially launched M-Pesa in Uganda, some agents have been offering the service there and charging their own rates.

This partnership follows a similar one which Safaricom signed with Pesa Point in August last year that allows M-Pesa subscribers to withdraw from the firm's access points.

Previously Safaricom has entered into partnership with other financial institutions which act as super agents who offer cash to their M-Pesa agents.

However, this deal signals , Safaricom's official first step to join hands with a bank to enhance mobile banking other than paying of bills using the service.

The M-Pesa ATM withdrawal service will target over 8.5 million Safaricom's M-Pesa customers who will now be able to use their mobile phones to access money from equity bank's over 550 ATMs.

Safaricom chief executive Michael Joseph says the deal will not affect the current agents as their services will still be required in sending and depositing the money.

"The partnership with equity will increase access points M-Pesa customers can withdraw money and presents a novel way of dealing with liquidity challenges customers may experience when with drawing money from M-Pesa agents given they will now have access to their cash countrywide 24 hours a day" said Mr Joseph.

M-Pesa has 14,700 agents and has handled over Sh300 billion in person to person transfers since launch.

The service will enable registered M-Pesa customers to withdraw amounts ranging from Sh200 to Sh35,000 from any equity bank ATM and will be charged normal M-Pesa charges which range between Sh30 and Sh175 depending on the amount being withdrawn. Consumers of the financial service do not need bank card to access the service, making it available to many unbanked Kenyans

Customers wishing to withdraw money will be required to go to the ATM withdrawal menu on the M-Pesa menu where they will input the equity agent number 286286 and they will then receive a one time ATM authorisation code. They will input this code into the ATM together with their Safaricom phone number and the amount they wish to withdraw. The equity ATM will then dispense the required cash and a transaction receipt.

Equity Bank's chief executive officer Dr James Mwangi said the new service would not only lay a strong base for the low cost banking, but would also enable many unbanked Kenyans excluded from the formal financial system to access their money using mobile phone technology.

"The beauty of this new service is that one does not have to have an account with Equity Bank to withdraw money from the banks ATMs," said Dr Mwangi.

Equity now anticipates an increase in volume of ATM transactions and overall bank revenues.

Source: The Daily Nation


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