Kenya’s largest independent ATM network- PesaPoint – is in mid May 2012 set to launch a system that will make it possible for M-PESA users to directly interact with their bank accounts.
The system, said to have been developed by PesaPoint with support from Safaricom’s M-PESA division will be revolutionary in the mobile money scene in Kenya and seeks to give M-PESA customers new capacity to interact directly with over 32 banks in Kenya.
PesaPoint network comprises over 32 of Kenya’s 42 formal banking institutions, and M-PESA users will be able to draw cash directly to their M-PESA accounts from a PesaPoint ATM provided their bank is part of the PesaPoint partner banks’ network.
According to a source familiar with the project, the system will leverage on the high security payment switch managed by Paynet Kenya, to enable MPESA customers access cash from their bank account safely on a 24 hours ATM service basis and paying only a fee for a normal ATM withdrawal.
PesaPoint continues to record increased mobile money transactions via the M-PESA ATM Withdrawal facility mostly because the ATMs are operational round the clock and do not have a float limit as is the case with typical M-PESA agents.
The service is targeted at MPESA users who also have formal bank accounts. It will further increase M-PESA appeal through increased convenience as users will have a choice not to travel to queue in banking halls as they can simply withdraw from their banks directly to their MPESA account thanks to the PesaPoint network.
When eventually launched, this system will further escalate competition in the Mobile Money market. Last week, Airtel Money in partnership with Faulu Kenya launched a service that will enable its users’ access soft loans, further blurring the boundary between mobile money transfer service and banking.
Other players in the Kenya market include Yu Money and Orange Money and the network neutral mobile money providers Tangaza and MobilKash.
Paynet Group which owns PesaPoint Limited has had a special working relationship with Vodafone UK (shareholders in Safaricom) which has seen MPESA, in the past, become the first mobile money service to benefit from the groundbreaking ATM withdrawal service developed by PesaPoint. Since then, the ATM Withdrawal service has been extended to Airtel Money with MobiKash also applying for it. It is not clear if this service called PesaPoint M-PESA CASH-IN will also be extended to other mobile money service operators.