Kenya's largest mobile money service, M-Pesa, is happening globally under a deal with Western Union, which would allow users to send money worldwide.
M-Pesa, which has over 23 million active subscribers in Kenya, will also be able to send and receive money via its phones and be connected to 500,000 WU Worldwide agents. Safaric, owned by M-Pesa, said that transfers via bank accounts to Germany, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom will also be available, with services in bank accounts in other countries in the coming weeks.
Began 11 years ago as a platform for sending small payments among users, M-Pesa has become a subscriber of services in ten countries across Africa, Europe and Asia. In Kenya alone, it has 160,000 agents and has made more than 580 million transactions in the three months ending in June 2018, according to Communications Communications of Kenya.
Its growth has had major implications for financial inclusion and digital banking, as it has shown to banks that mobile money represents an opportunity to increase income from payments and earn interest for increased deposits. M-Pesa became so big and so quick that the regulators once disclosed that he had separated it from his parent company, but later returned to this proposal.
As the service grew, Safaric's director, Bob Collymore, in 2016, named M-Pesa as a "clumsy" product, which was "far from elegant" when it stacked against other technical products. Thus, a process of innovation that could prevent competition has begun, Safaric helped to diversify its products, expand its mobile and fintech network, and put M-Pesa in the hands of many more users.
In the past few years, the company has launched a Little Drive service, a Masoko e-commerce platform and Songa streaming services that have enabled all users to pay for M-Pesa services. In October, the operator also launched M-Pesa 1Tap, which used a card, phone sticker or bracelet, which enabled secure and faster payments. In February, Google made payments to M-Pess in its app store, making the American technology giant one of the first among the global distribution sites that adapted to mobile money.
In April, Safaric worked with PayPal to enable e-commerce companies to transfer money effectively between two services and their mobile wallets. The company launched a bonga service that allows M-Pesa users to talk while sending and receiving money. And in an effort to increase the number, Safaric is allegedly taking M-Pesa to Ethiopia, the market is more than 100 million, which is slowly opening up to investors.
M-Pesa's takeover deal is also globally promoted by Western Union, which has faced tough competition from fintech start-ups, such as TransferWise and WorldRemit, which offer cheaper and faster web-based downloads, thereby reducing prices and shifting to digital strategy.