Vodafone and ICICI to bring M-Pesa across India in 12-18 months

Vodafone India, India’s second largest service provider and ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank have announced to launch M-Pesa across India in the next 12-18 months.

Speaking to TeleAnalysis, Rajiv Kohli, operations director – north, Vodafone Mobile Services said, “We plan to launch M-Pesa across India in the next 12-18 months.”

Vodafone has already launched M-Pesa in Kolkata, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Rajasthan. The company launched its services in Delhi and plans to launch its services in Mumbai and Lucknow very soon.

Rahul Joshi, joint general manager- Digital Channels, ICICI Bank said, “The bank has activated around 100,000 accounts under M-Pesa scheme.”

M-Pesa is the trademark of Vodafone and was started in Kenya in 2006 for mobile money transfer and payment service. Presently, it has 17.3 million customers in 7 countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and others). The company has transacted Rs 6,000 crore through its 96,000 M-Pesa agents across 7 countries. In the next few months, Vodafone is planning to launch M-Pesa services in Romania and Egypt.

Using M-Pesa, subscribers can deposit and withdraw cash from M-Pesa outlets, transfer money to any mobile phone in India, remit money to any bank account in India, make payment to utlity bills, shop at select shops and participate in e-commerce and m-commerce transactions. Subscribers can transfer a maximum of Rs 5,000 per transaction using unencrypted model.

With the launch of M-Pesa services in Delhi, the company is focusing on large number of migrant population (around 60 lakh) for money transfer said Subrat Padhi, business head, Delhi Circle, Vodafone Mobile Services.

In order to promote this service, the company has launched this service in English and 4 regional languages and also provides M-Pesa service using IVR (interactive voice response). IVR would be helpful for people who are illiterate and are not conversant with technology.

M-Pesa will focus on unbanked and under-banked sections of the population gain access to financial services via the mobile phone. With Delhi and Mumbai having large number of migrant population from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The company will complete full circle with Mumbai launch today and the focus should be now to promote migrant people to use M-Pesa for money transfer.

Once M-Pesa service stabilizes in north, west and eastern India, the company plans to launch services in Southern India.

It would not be easy initially as people would be sceptic about money transfer through mobile but word to mouth publicity by peer group will definitely help in popularizing M-Pesa in India.

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