Out of the loop if not on M-Pesa

M-Pesa vendors Nairobi downtown

Nairobi day 5: It’s very easy to feel very old fashioned and totally out of the loop if one is not using M-Pesa, mobile money.Everyone uses it. Electricity bills and school fees are paid with M-Pesa, so are taxis and tickets for a performance. At the markets, whether you want to pay for tomatoes, maize, carrots or a second hand T-shirts the most frequent way of payment is M-Pesa.

Ester Njeri Kangethe has a store at Toi-market located near Adam’s Arcade. She sells second hand scarfs, socks, mittens for the cold Nairobi seasons. She explains that if she sells for 10.000 Kenya Shillings, the 8000 will be paid with M-Pesa, the rest with traditional money. She prefers M-Pesa because it is convenient. Security wise it makes sense as well.

Even if someone steals my phone, they can’t steal my money. The money is safe on my M-Pesa account, she explains.

M-Pesa works like this: People deposit money on their mobile accounts at a M-Pesa outlet. They can then use their phones to transfer money straight to another persons phone or cash the money from a M-Pesa vendor. Each and every transaction requires a personal pincode, if the phone gets stolen the thief cannot access the account without the pincode.

Everywhere in Nairobi there are M-Pesa outlets or vendors, from fancy shopping malls to small vendors down town. The same is true outside the city.  M-Pesa is part of Kenyan life.

M-Pesa started in 2007 and by the end of the year about 1,000,000 Kenyans had signed on to the service. In 2010, M-Pesa has 13.3 million users, meaning that 57 per cent of all Kenyans above 15 years use M-Pesa.

M-Pesa is Safaricom’s invention and other phone companies are now trying to tap into its market. 1 million users are on Airtel Money and a few month back Orange went into partnership with Kenya’s biggest and most successful bank Equity. But Safaricom’s M-Pesa is very established and the company does all it can to protect its market. Breaking into the market is very hard. People simple love M-Pesa, and it does not make sense to move to something else – unless everyone else does.

It’s an understatement to say that M-Pesa is extremely popular. According to the World Bank’s leading Economist in Kenya, Wolfgang Fengler, there are 20 million mobile money users in the world. Half of the 20 millions are Kenyans

It speaks volumes that fifty percent of the global market share of mobile money is in Kenya and that mobile money transfers globally are bigger than Western Unions, Wolfgang Fengler says.

See in the end of this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKWazJyDg9s&feature=relmfu

4 Responses to “Out of the loop if not on M-Pesa”
  1. vqeverywhere says:

    Thx:) Best regards, Vibeke Quaade

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Image credit: Growthineastafrica.wordpress.com. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: