M-PESA grants Kenya mobile access to savings accounts and insurance

Kenyan customers of Vodafone are now able to use their mobiles to link to an interest-bearing savings account, as well as buy insurance, with Vodafone’s new money transfer technology, M-PESA.

The service, which is operated by Safaricom in Kenya, offers customers the chance to save money using a direct link to Equity Bank.  It will provide a safe and secure service for many millions of Kenyans who currently do not have access to a bank account and so are unable to save money in a secure environment.

Launched in 2007, M-PESA has given over 9.5 million Kenyans a safe, cheap alternative to carrying cash, and the new service, christened M-KESHO, will build on this.  Not only will customers be able to transfer cash but they will be able to save it as well, earning interest on any deposit above 1 KSH.

“Basic banking and money transfer services play a key role in building a secure economy” said Cenk Serdar, Vodafone’s Director of Mobile Payment Solutions. “We are delighted that M-KESHO will enable more people to save and as a result we hope this will have a positive influence on the whole economy.”

Safaricom CEO, Michael Joseph said “This is a great idea that will drive customers to save into their bank accounts and enjoy the benefits of having the value added services of both MPESA and an Equity bank account.”

These views were strongly supported by Equity Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr James Mwangi who said: “If you look at other solutions in the market, nobody has put together all these services to provide this kind of convenience to the customer.  This is in line with our mission to offer inclusive; customer focused financial services that socially and economically empower our clients and other stakeholders.”

M-KESHO is currently available through a limited number of agents in Kenya.  There are plans to roll it out nationally over the next few months.

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