UK-based Vodafone, Kenyan telecom operator Safaricom, and The Western Union Company have announced that they will partner to pilot a cross-border mobile money transfer service between the UK and Kenya.
This service is expected to enable customers to send cross-border remittances from select locations directly to Safaricom mobile subscribers in Kenya. The initiative uses Western Union’s global hub for processing cross-border remittances. It builds on the success of M-PESA, a mobile money transfer service in Kenya offered by Vodafone and sister company Safaricom, said Vodafone.
The pilot is expected to take place through a select number of Western Union agents based in Reading, Berkshire. Consumers can send funds to any Safaricom mobile subscriber in Kenya. Receivers can use their funds in a variety of ways, including visiting one of 4,000 M-PESA agents in Kenya to withdraw their cash, or forwarding it on to another mobile phone in Kenya.
Nick Hughes, head of international mobile payments at Vodafone, said: The successful take-up of M-PESA in Kenya has clearly demonstrated the demand for easily accessible, secure cash payment services in emerging markets. Our partnership with Western Union allows M-PESA subscribers to receive international remittances and builds on the demand we have already seen domestically in Kenya.