PEOPLE living in Kenya can now receive money from friends and family in the United Kingdom directly to their M-PESA accounts.
This makes listed telecoms firm Safaricom the first company to offer a mobile based international money transfer service, which allows registered M-PESA customers to receive remittances via their mobile phones.
The launch of the international component of M-PESA, the firm’s pioneering and globally-acclaimed money transfer service, follows a successful pilot project with selected outlets in the UK.
Three agents have been involved with conducting the pilots for over three months, namely Western Union, Provident Capital Transfers and KenTv.
A total of 19 outlets were carefully selected to cover areas with relatively high number of Kenyans, including Reading, London, Luton, Wembley and Glasgow.
They comprise a variety of shops including forex agents, news agents and grocery shops that are commonly visited by Kenyans and whom are registered with HM Revenue & Customs in the UK as money services businesses.
To send money using M-PESA, the sender in UK will be required to identify himself/herself and furnish the agent with the recipient’s name, Kenyan mobile number and the amount being sent in Sterling Pounds.
Exchange rate conversion to Kenya Shillings is done at the prevailing rate and the agent will proceed to send the Kenya Shillings direct to the recipient’s M-PESA account.
There is no registration fee to either party for using M-PESA’s international service. The sender will pay a competitive transaction fee ranging from £4 – £6.90, depending on the amount sent and the outlet at which they are transacting.
For example, you can send up to £150 for as little as £4. This transaction fee is shared between Safaricom and the agent.
A major benefit to users of remitting money to Kenya direct to a customers M-PESA account is in the convenience to the recipient of collecting their money.
Registered M-PESA customers are able to withdraw cash affordably at their convenience at over 12,000 M-PESA Agents countrywide.
They are also able to use M-PESA to pay bills, purchase airtime and to perform local money transfers