M-Pesa - Vodafone’s mobile money transfer and payment service – has been quite successful in some emerging markets such as Egypt, Kenya and other African Countries. It has also been launched in some large Asian markets such as India. On 31st March 2014, the company announced the launch of M-Pesa in Romania to enable nearly 6 Million of its citizens that mainly deal with cash transactions. Overall M-Pesa is being positioned by Vodafone as an emerging markets solution.
"The majority of people in Romania have at least one mobile device, but more than one third of the population do not have access to conventional banking,” said Michael Joseph, Vodafone’s Director of Mobile Money. “Vodafone M-Pesa is already used regularly by nearly 17 million customers and we look forward to bringing the significant benefits of the service to the people of Romania.”
- M-Pesa is based on simple text messaging technology and operates over any of Vodafone Romania’s mobile network connections. This includes 4G services which launched in 2012.
- M-Pesa users in Romania can transfer as little as 1 Romanian leu (0.22 euro cents) up to 30,000 lei (€6,715) each day.
- Vodafone M-Pesa can be activated at any one of around 300 Vodafone Romania stores and participating retail outlets as well as through authorised agents beginning today.
- The platform will be accessible to around 6 Mn people in both rural and urban areas.
- The company says that by the end of 2014, M-Pesa will be extended to other parts of the country, comprising a total of 2,000 retail and distribution points of presence.
- M-Pesa will also enable Vodafone Romania’s users to pay utility bills, top up pre-pay airtime on a mobile device, purchase goods such as flowers, a newspaper and a coffee as well as make a deposit and withdraw cash from participating agents.
According to Vodafone, M-Pesa had approximately 16.8 million active customers as at 31 December 2013 and approximately 186,000 authorised agents worldwide. The company also says that its customers do over €900 Mn worth of P2P transactions every month. The addition of Romania continues the expansion of M-Pesa globally, following the launches in Egypt, India, Lesotho and Mozambique, over the last year.