Vodafone’s M-Pesa service, which was announced in November 2012, is finally available for users in Kolkata, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.
M-Pesa has been launched through Vodafone’s 100 per cent subsidiary, Mobile Commerce Solutions (MCSL) and ICICI Bank. This offering will include a mobile money account with ICICI Bank and a Mobile Wallet issued by MCSL.
Customers can not only be able to deposit and withdraw cash from designated outlets, but they can also transfer money to any mobile phone in India.
This money can be used to recharge mobile phone and DTH accounts, utility bill payments, to transfer money to any bank account in India and to make payments at select shops.
To register for the service, Vodafone customers need to visit an ‘M-Pesa’ agent outlet, fill up a form, submit identity and address proofs, and have to deposit a minimum amount to open their ‘M-Pesa’ account.
The MCSL Mobile Wallet get activated immediately and the customer can do a variety of transactions like cash deposit, transfer money to any bank account, money transfer to any other ‘M-Pesa’ customer, recharge mobiles and DTH, pay mobile and utility bills. Once the documents are verified and approved by MCSL and ICICI Bank, the customer can do other transactions like cash withdrawal and sending money to any mobile number.
This service is especially aimed at people who do not have any bank account right now. However, people with an existing bank account can also use it. These services will be made available using a network of authorised agents who will enable the customer to deposit and withdraw cash in and from their account.
Marten Pieters, managing director and chief executive officer of Vodafone India said, “Vodafone ‘M-Pesa’ is offering millions of people basic financial services, beyond the reach of traditional banking (in Africa mainly). This offering has been customised to serve the Indian customer in compliance with all applicable regulatory requirements.”
The service is already quite popular in Africa where the service has been available for past couple of years. In India, Airtel already has a similar service with Airtel money.