M-Pesa (M for mobile, pesa is a Swahili word for money) is a mobile phone-based money transfer service, payments, and micro-financing service, launched in 2007 by Vodafone Group plc and Safaricom.
Safaricom is the largest mobile network operator in Kenya and Sub-Saharan Africa. It has since expanded to Tanzania, Mozambique, DRC, Lesotho, Ghana, Egypt, Afghanistan, and South Africa. Meanwhile, services in India, Romania, and Albania have been terminated amid low market uptake. M-Pesa allows users to deposit, withdraw, transfer money, pay for goods and services (Lipa na MPesa), access credit, and savings, all with a mobile device.
The service allows users to deposit money into an account stored on their cell phones, to send balances using PIN-secured SMS text messages to other users, including sellers of goods and services, and to redeem deposits for regular money. Users are charged a small fee for sending and withdrawing money using the service.
M-Pesa is a branchless banking service; M-Pesa customers can deposit and withdraw money from a network of agents that includes airtime resellers and retail outlets acting as banking agents.
M-Pesa has spread quickly, and by 2010 had become the most successful mobile-phone-based financial service in the developing world. By the end of 2020, about 35 million M-Pesa accounts had been registered in Kenya.
Due to its growth banks in Kenya also came with a technology known as PesaLink to transfer money over banks instantly.
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