As part of Kenya’s highly successful mobile money scheme, users of Safaricom’s M-Pesa service now have access to interest-bearing saving accounts as well as the ability to take out small loans. The new service, called M-Shwari, is the next step for increasing further access to a wider range of financial services.
Brought about by strategic cooperation between Vodafone, Safaricom and the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA), M-Shwari is available through the existing M-Pesa menu that customers can access through their handsets. There are no forms to complete and no need to visit a bank branch. M-Pesa customers can also apply to CBA for a mini-loan, again directly from their phone. Based on the individual customer’s M-Pesa transactions and savings history, CBA determines the customer’s eligibility and debits the money to their account immediately.
Michael Joseph, Director for M-Pesa within Vodafone Group, says: ‘M-Shwari is a transformational service. Saving is no longer the privilege of an elite - all Kenyans can now save, even the smallest amounts and at their own pace. M-Shwari creates a safe environment for customers to borrow small amounts and links the amounts of credit available to the ability to save.’