M-pesa, Africa’s premier mobile money, now seeks to include ATM use

Safaricom, a top mobile network operator in Kenya, and PesaPoint, country’s independent ATM network, are in the advanced stages of testing a new system that would enable users of its mobile money service, M-Pesa, use ATMs in 32 of the East African nation’s 42 banks.

The system, developed by PesaPoint, will make it possible for M-Pesa users to withdraw cash directly from their mobile phone-based accounts using a PesaPoint ATM — provided the user’s bank has partnered with PesaPoint.

Safaricom will leverage on the high security payment switch managed by Paynet Kenya to enable its M-Pesa users access cash from their bank accounts safely 24 hours a day.

The new service will save the customers from having to travel to banks or queue to make simple transactions, as they would deposit money to their banks directly using their MPESA account.

PesaPoint expects to experience increased mobile money transactions via the M-Pesa ATM withdrawal facility given the ATM’s 24-hour operational feature. It is also hopes to reduce float depletion, typical with M-Pesa agents.

The service, mainly targeted at M-Pesa users with verifiable accounts, will see Africa’s premier mobile money service become the first in Africa to benefit from the groundbreaking ATM withdrawal service developed by PesaPoint.

Normal ATM withdrawal fee would be charged for the service.

This is viewed as Safaricom’s bid to maintain an edge in the Kenyan mobile market following recent surges in competition. Airtel last week partnered with Faulu Kenya to launch a service set to enable its users access soft loans of up to Ksh10,000 (US$120).

Safaricom today released its performance recording a 5.4 percent dip in full-year profits. In the results, M-Pesa was the biggest revenue generator (Kshs 16.9billion/$203.6 million) and recorded a 43 percent growth in the number of users.

M-Pesa is Kenya’s premier innovative mobile transfer solution that enables customers to transfer money. Launched back in 2007, M-Pesa has revolutionized the way Africa and other parts of the world carry out their financial transactions at the comfort of their mobile phones.

Based on Safaricom’s 2011/2012 financial report, M-Pesa’s registered customers stands at 14.9million, with over 39,000 agents across Kenya.

Paynet Group owns PesaPoint Limited. The company says it has had a special working relationship with Vodafone UK, Safaricom’s major shareholder.

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