M-Pesa goes global

M-Pesa has departed from the East African boundaries to the world in a move that will enable customers send and receive money from Western Union agents.

In a first of its kind, all M-PESA customers can now send money to almost any individual across the world through a variety of channels including directly into their bank accounts, and for pick up at more than 500,000 Western Union agent locations.

“This new service brings the convenience, safety and speed of M-PESA to the rest of the world and will enable Kenyans to send and receive money across the world from the comfort of their mobile phones,” said Sitoyo Lopokoiyit, Chief Financial Services Officer, Safaricom.

Western Union allows for 130 currencies. The Regional Vice President of Southern and East Africa for Western Union Richard Malcolm said that since every country has a different regulator, the sending and receiving regulators and their conditions will determine the currency during transactions. But he was quick to add that in most cases, it’s the national currency of the country.

“The transfer will be available within minutes. However, when you use swift for bank transfer, it could take between three to four days”, he explained

M-PESA users can hold a maximum of sh100, 000 in their wallets. The global partnership will be the same, including for daily limits. “We are engaging with the Central Bank of Kenya with a view to increasing these limits”, added Sylvia Mulinge Safaricom, Chief Customer Officer, as she said Kenyans want higher transactions. She explained that on Western Union, people often send between $100 to $1000 which is still within M-PESA limits, making it a smooth transition.

In addition to already existing channels, M-PESA Global will immediately enable customers to send money for pick up at more than 500,000 Western Union agent locations across the world. Transfers through bank accounts to the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and Germany will also be available immediately, with services to bank accounts in other countries being rolled out in the coming weeks.

With M-PESA Global, Kenya achieves another first in enabling sending and receiving of money between mobile phones and virtually any individual across the world.

M-PESA Global already allows customers to make and receive payments from more than 200 million PayPal customers from 200 markets across the world. Other partners available on the platform include World Remit and HomeSend among others.

Customers can access the new service by dialling *840# or by selecting “M-PESA Global” under the M-PESA menu on mySafaricomApp.


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