Safaricom’s mobile money transfer service M-PESA has scooped two international awards at the just concluded Mobile Money Awards.
The event, held in Dubai recently as part of the Connected World Forum, brought together mobile experts and showcased next-generation mobile applications and services in the money, health, education and agricultural sectors.
M-PESA was awarded for ‘Achievement in Financial Inclusion’, in recognition of its contribution in making a lasting difference to the unbanked in Kenya and bringing about tangible social and economic improvement.
The service also won the ‘Best mobile money joint venture be
tween a bank and an operator’ category which is a new title that recognizes the best partnership models that have achieved high subscription rates, extensive customer penetration and a unique user experience.
Safaricom’s general manager for Financial Services Ms Betty Mwangi, while receiving the awards, said M-PESA would continue with its culture of constant innovation in efforts to further improve lives of Kenyans and communities.
“At M-PESA, we are constantly innovating and entering into strategic partnerships with other service providers in our quest to make life better for Kenyans. These awards are yet another vote of confidence in our service,” said Ms Mwangi in a media release.
Connected World Forum Programme Director, Sonum Puri said “Safaricom’s M-PESA mobile money service in Kenya has won for outstanding achievement in financial inclusion. M-PESA is a legendary business in this industry and has made a real difference to the unbanked in that country, bringing about tangible social and economic improvement.”
Other winners at the event were National Bank of Abu Dhabi which scooped the Best IMT programme, Orange Money Madagascar which was named the Best Mobile Money Launch and Smart Communications which was awarded for Best operator-led programme, among others.
The M-PESA service was launched in March 2007. As at September 30, 2011, the service had over 14.8 million customers and about 32,000 agent outlets countrywide. Over 700 organizations are now accepting Bill Payment via M-PESA and a further 300 are Bulk Payment partners.
The service does not require users to have a bank account; an important aspect in Kenya, where millions of people do not operate bank accounts. With M-PESA, account holders can buy electronic funds at an M-PESA agent and send the electronic value to any other mobile phone user in the country, who can then redeem it for conventional cash at any M-PESA agent.
From the initial ‘send money home’ service, the service offering has expanded to facilitate airtime top-up, bill payment, salary disbursements, M-KESHO services and more recently, international money transfer in partnership with Western Union. M-PESA customers can hold up to KShs100,000 in their M-PESA account at any one time, and can do transactions of up to KShs140,000 in a day. Between KShs50 and KShs70,000 can be deposited, sent or withdrawn per transaction.