M-Pesa – the premier mobile money transfer solution launched by Safaricom in March 6, 2007 – has transformed the way people transfer cash not just in Kenya, and in the process spawning similar solutions in Tanzania; South Africa as well as Afghanistan.
A look at M-Pesa’s milestones as it marked 5 years since launch indicate that the service had registered 19,671 users less than a month after its launch by March 31, 2007 while by March 2012, it had about 14.7 million active users.
Since its launch and possible due to its success and high adoption rates, other companies have in the process and during this time also developed and launched solutions and services with names having the “M-“ prefix.
Below are a few notable mobile payment-related solutions launched after M-Pesa (or M-Pesa “OffSprings”) and which also have the “M” prefix:
- M-SHWARI: M-Shwari is a product for M-PESA customers that allows one to save and borrow money through your phone while earning you interest on money saved. With M-Shwari, one is entitled to affordable emergency loans. The service is offered in partnership with CBA.
- M-KESHO: A banking service by both Equity and Safaricom where users cash can earn interest from as little as Ksh 1. Users can transfer cash from their Equity bank account into their M-PESA accounts and also make deposits from M-PESA to M-KESHO account.
- M-HELA: This is a mobile money service that enables Kenyans in Europe to send money to their families in Kenya into their Safaricom and Airtel mobile-money accounts. It’s created for Kenyans, those abroad and within the country and works in partnership with Aftab Currency exchange in the UK.
- M-PAYER: This is a mobile and web application that enables businesses to manage income and expense transactions of the business – both mobile money (Mpesa, Airtel Money) and also cash. It also helps businesses keep track of customers, distinguish their different payments and generate reports on a real time basis through a mobile phone or computer.
- M-PAISA: Launched by Vodafone’s Afghanistan affiliate Roshan, the service enables subscribers to send and receive payments or top up their accounts via mobile phone. With the service, users also receive Western Union Mobile Transfer transactions from their families around the world directly into their M-Paisa wallets.