Vodafone launches MoneyGram to M-Pesa money transfer service

Operator group Vodafone has joined forces with global money transfer and payment services firm MoneyGram to enable customers in over 200 countries to send money to M-Pesa users. The two will initially launch in a few key markets in 2Q14 and plan to roll out the service to further markets during the remainder of the year.

M-Pesa is a mobile money service that allows customers in emerging markets to transfer funds and make payments using their mobile handsets. The service was first launched in Kenya through Safaricom, which Vodafone has a 40 per cent stake in, and in Tanzania through Vodafone subsidiary Vodacom.

Under the agreement, customers of MoneyGram will be able to transfer funds to M-Pesa users through its website or a mobile app, which is available on iOS, Android and Windows 8 operating systems.

The firms noted the World Bank’s estimates that more than half of all inhabitants in countries where M-Pesa is available have no access to a traditional bank account. The majority of these inhabitants live in low-income rural areas and are becoming increasingly reliant on mobile money transfers, they added.

“There is huge demand for sending funds back to family and friends in your home market and an estimated $90bn per year is transferred to M-Pesa markets from around the globe,” said Michael Joseph, Vodafone Director of M-Pesa.

“Our partnership with MoneyGram provides the most extensive global network and greatest number of access points for consumers wishing to transfer funds to M-Pesa users.”

MoneyGram has 334,000 agents across the globe where customers can send money directly to M-Pesa accounts. The M-Pesa service is now available in: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Fiji, India, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania. The service is expected to launch in further markets later this year.

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