A joint initiative by Vodacom and NedbankPublish date: 30 March 2010 by Hanleigh Daniels
Following FNB’s Top Up and Withdraw service with PayPal, Vodacom and Nedbank announced their new "strategic joint initiative" to bring M-Pesa to South Africa; but there are no indications of an official launch date as yet.
M-Pesa is a mobile money solution through which users can complete basic banking transactions, without having to visit a branch office of the bank. The M stand for mobile and pesa is Swahili for money. The M-Pesa service started out as a pilot programme, funded jointly by Vodafone and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) Financial Deepening Challenge Fund. The service has proved popular in other African countries such as Kenya and Tanzania, as well as in countries in other regions like Afghanistan. Vodacom customers in Tanzania for example can convert their cash into electronic money at an authorised M-Pesa agent. They can then transfer it to another mobile customer using their mobile phone. The recipient will get an SMS notification indicating the amount transferred to him and he can go to any authorised M-Pesa agent to withdraw the money. Vodacom customers registered for the M-Pesa service are able to deposit, transfer and withdraw money, as well as to buy Vodacom prepaid airtime. It is still unclear though how this service will operate in South Africa.
“As a bank for all South Africans, we are delighted to be a part of this innovative, simple money transfer product which offers easy access to funds,” said Saks Ntombela, managing executive for Nedbank Retail. “We are particularly excited about this offering being attractive to the previously unbanked population who are not yet part of the formal banking system. Nedbank strives to understand our customers’ needs and is committed to then ensure that what we deliver is a financial product that is easy to use. This illustrates a shared vision between Nedbank and Vodacom.”
Shameel Joosub, MD of Vodacom South Africa added to this by saying, “M-PESA has a successful track record in other markets. With the backing of Nedbank and Vodafone, as well as the power of the public’s trust in the Vodacom brand, all of the signs are there that M-PESA is going to revolutionise the way South Africans transfer, share and spend their money.”