Kenya's mobile payment service M-Pesa heads to Europe
Vodafone is launching M-Pesa in Romania as it seeks to introduce Kenya's popular mobile payment system in Europe.Vodafone is launching M-Pesa in Romania as it seeks to introduce Kenya's popular mobile payment system in Europe.
The mobile operator hopes to win over an estimated seven million Romanians who mainly use cash, before eventually expanding in the region.
Michael Joseph, Vodafone's director of mobile money, said the European e-money licence that the company obtained would allow Vodafone to operate M-Pesa in other markets, although he indicated that the focus would be on central and eastern Europe, the Financial Times reports.
"There was also the chance to extend the platform into savings, loans and insurance in the same way Vodafone had done in Africa," he added.
M-Pesa, Kenya's leading mobile money transfer service, was launched in March 2007 through Safaricom. It allows users to deposit, withdraw and transfer money through a mobile device. It can also be used for Diaspora remittances, retail payments and public transport fares.
It has more than 17 million users and 65,547 agent outlets, and has led to spin-off services such as M-Shwari, which allows customers to borrow money via mobile phone. M-Pesa is also available in Tanzania, Egypt, Lesotho and Mozambique.