Mobile money transfer and payment service M-Pesa is live in India today, courtesy of ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank and telecommunications service provider Vodafone India.
The service was launched in Kolkata by Rajiv Sabharwal, Executive Director, ICICI Bank and Marten Pieters, MD & CEO, Vodafone India Ltd.
‘The service is being launched initially in the eastern parts of Kolkata, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand through over 8300 specially trained authorized agents. M-Pesa will soon be rolled out across the country in a phased manner.
Its launch will help users deposit and withdraw cash from designated outlets, transfer money to any mobile phone in India, remit money to any bank account in India, make payments to recharge mobile, clear utility bills and for DTH service subscription, shop at select shops and participate in e-commerce/m-commerce.
Speaking during the launch, Rajiv Sabharwal, Executive Director, ICICI Bank said, “ICICI Bank has been at the forefront of technological innovations in banking. With the launch of M-Pesa’, the Bank now offers a unique and innovative service that provides basic banking facilities to millions of Indians who still depend on informal channels for their banking needs. We are very happy with the partnership with Vodafone as the tie-up will effectively leverage the security of financial transactions provided to customers by ICICI Bank and the strengths of Vodafone’s significant distribution reach. This launch is line with the Bank’s objective of achieving greater financial inclusion. It also enriches the Bank’s existing suite of mobile banking offerings.”
According to Marten Pieters, Managing Director & CEO, Vodafone India, “Mobile technology has a critical role to play in servicing the unbanked and underserviced sections of the society and we are delighted to introduce this world-class offering in India in partnership with ICICI Bank. Using ‘MMM–Pesa’esa’,esa’esa’ we will provide people in remote areas a convenient way to bank, transfer money and make payments in a safe and secure manner. We have customized our offering to serve the needs of Indian customers while ensuring its compliance with all applicable regulations. Financial inclusion is a national priority and we believe that with M–Pesa we now have the ideal offering to enable the same.”
To sign up for M-Pesa, users will have to visit an ‘M-Pesa’ outlet, register with ‘M-Pesa’ agent and fill and submit a form, provide identity and address proofs for initial access to the service. After registration, they can deposit a minimum amount, transfer money it to a bank account or another ‘M-Pesa account holder, recharge mobile and data bundles and pay mobile or utilities.
Vodafone has launched M-Pesa across Africa and Asia and continues to leverage mobile technology to serve the unbanked populations especially in emerging markets.