M PESA to go international

September 1, 2008
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, NAIROBI, September 1 – Mobile phone company Safaricom’s money transfer service M-PESA will soon be available internationally.

Safaricom Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michael Joseph announced on Monday that the company had already launched an international money transfer service pilot project towards the end of last year.

“We would like to launch an international money transfer particularly for Kenyans living abroad in the US and UK,” he explained.

The company said its plans for the overseas service had not only been prompted by the success at home, but also the high cost of sending money internationally.

The service has been in operation in the country for the last 18 months and has gained popularity, where hundreds of millions of shillings is being transferred from person to person using their mobile phones.

For the month of July alone the company facilitated the transfer of Sh6.8 billion from person to person through it’s over 9,200 M-PESA agencies in the country.

There are 3.3 million M-PESA users countrywide.

Joseph however said that the impressive service results would not in any way affect the company’s earnings.

“Operating the service is very costly, we expect to make profits out of M-PESA maybe next year, since all we have been doing since its inception has been making things work,” he said.

M-Pesa is a partnership between Safaricom and Vodafone Plc; M-Pesa’s lowest transaction cost ranges between Sh50 to Sh75, divided in different proportions between the sender and the recipient.

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