Members Japhy, Vodafone, Safaricom, Roshan, ICICI Bank, etc. The service allows users to deposit money into an account stored on their cell phones, to m&m statistics project balances using PIN-secured SMS text messages to other users, including sellers of goods and services, and to redeem deposits for regular money. 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 2012, a stock of about 17 million M-Pesa accounts had been registered in Kenya. By June 2016, a total of 7 million M-Pesa accounts have been opened in Tanzania by Vodacom. A kiosk displays M-pesa advertising in Kenya in 2012.
The initial work of developing the product was given to a product and technology development company known as Sagentia. Development and second line support responsibilities were transferred to IBM in September 2009, where most of the original Sagentia team transferred to. Following a 3-year migration project to a new technology stack, as of 26 February 2017, IBM’s responsibilities have been transferred to Huawei in all markets. The initial concept of M-Pesa was to create a service which would allow microfinance borrowers to conveniently receive and repay loans using the network of Safaricom airtime resellers. Partnerships with Kenyan banks offer expanded banking services like interest-bearing accounts, loans, and insurance. The user interface technology of M-Pesa differs between Safaricom of Kenya and Vodacom of Tanzania, although the underlying platform is the same.
Transaction charges depend on the amount of money being transferred and whether the payee is a registered user of the service. Safaricom charges up to 66 Kshs. M-Pesa quickly captured a significant market share for cash transfers, and grew to 17 million subscribers by December 2011 in Kenya alone. The growth of the service forced formal banking institutions to take note of the new venture. In December 2008, a group of banks reportedly lobbied the Kenyan finance minister to audit M-Pesa, in an effort to at least slow the growth of the service. This ploy failed, as the audit found that the service was robust. On 19 November 2014, Safaricom launched a companion android app Safaricom M-Ledger for its M-Pesa users.
The application, currently available only on Android, gives M-Pesa users a historical view of all their transactions. M-Pesa was launched in Tanzania by Vodacom in 2008 but its initial ability to attract customers fell short of expectations. In 2010, the International Finance Corporation released a report which explored many of these issues in greater depth and analyzed the strategic changes that Vodacom has implemented to improve their market position. In 2008 Vodafone partnered with Roshan, Afghanistan’s primary mobile operator, to provide M-Pesa, the local brand of the service. In September 2010 Vodacom and Nedbank announced the launch of the service in South Africa, where there were estimated to be more than 13 million «economically active» people without a bank account. Despite efforts, as at March 2015, M-Pesa still struggled to grow its customer base.